The Buick dealership on Illinois 15 in Belleville has a new owner.
Cardinal Buick GMC, of Belleville, purchased the dealership from Oliver C. Joseph Chrysler Dodge Jeep, of Belleville, for an undisclosed price Monday.
A work crew installed a sign Tuesday calling the dealership “Cardinal Buick GMC,” and the dealership’s flashing sign proclaimed “new owners.”
Rick Jones, who previously was a partner in three car dealerships in Texas, is president of Cardinal Buick and has moved from Texas to the metro-east.
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Jones said he already has doubled the number jobs at the dealership from 17 to 34. His goal is to have 50 employees by August.
In 2007, Wagner Motor Car Co. opened the Buick dealership at 3800 W. State Route 15 but in 2013 sold it to Oliver C. Joseph Chrysler Dodge Jeep, which is located across the highway. Former owner Rusty Wagner relocated the dealership from 4400 North Belt West in Belleville to the new building on Illinois 15. The Wagner family dealership traces its roots to 1912.
“I have spoken with Rusty Wagner at length,” Jones said. “Our goal is to take that torch for the Wagner family and pass it on for a long time and give them something to feel proud of what they have been able to accomplish.”
Brad Joseph, president of the Oliver C. Joseph dealership, said he accomplished his goal to get the Wagner dealership “stabilized” and then find a new owner.
General Motors had terminated Wagner Motor Car Co. in May 2009 and ceased sending vehicles and parts, but reinstated the dealership in September 2009. At one point, Wagner sued General Motors but later dropped the lawsuit.
Joseph, who will lease the land and building to Cardinal Buick, said he was proud that his dealership “kept a lot of people working.”
Joseph said his company did not get any tax incentives from Belleville while it owned the Buick GMC dealership. Also, Jones said he has not requested any incentives from the city.
Cardinal will offer the complete line of Buick and GMC cars and will also offer used cars.
Jones, 39, said commercial development along Illinois 15 in recent years and the potential for additional growth along the highway are a couple of the reasons that Belleville “was just the right place for Cardinal to be launched.”
“We’ve made a significant investment here, so we’re very excited to integrate into the community and provide support to local youth organizations that can help better our community in the long run.”