First Team Automotive Group acquires Norfolk-based Bay Kia

Acquisition introduces First Team to Norfolk

2/5/2014, 3:23 p.m.

Family-owned First Team Automotive Group has purchased the Norfolk-based Bay Kia, making Kia the ninth brand in First Team’s holdings that include Honda, Toyota, Chevrolet and Mazda in the Hampton Roads region, and Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen and Subaru in First Team’s Auto Mall in Roanoke.

“We’re always looking for the right opportunities to grow,” said Ashton Lewis Jr., First Team’s chief operating officer. “This is an ideal expansion opportunity for us and we are thrilled to be able to represent a franchise that has been growing steadily since it entered the U.S. market in the early ‘90s.”

Lewis and his team will use the Kia acquisition to expand the company’s footprint in the Hampton Roads region. With current locations in Chesapeake and Hampton, First Team will now have a significant presence in Norfolk.

“We look at this expansion as a way to provide additional services and resources to our customers,” said Lewis. “This goes beyond an additional brand. We will be able to build on the outstanding service Bay Kia customers have come to expect, while adding additional value through First Team’s commitment to meet the needs of each individual customer.”

First Team’s plans for expansion of the Kia dealership include a Kia Image Store to be located within two blocks of what is now Bay Kia. First Team will expand Kia’s home to 15,000 square feet.

First Team’s Joe Gardner, general sales manager of First Team Toyota, will assume the responsibilities as general manager at First Team Kia and will be joined by the sales, service and parts employees of Bay Automotive.

“We want to ensure that current and former customers of Kia know that they can rely on the same service and sales excellence they are accustomed to receiving. We welcome Bay’s team into ours,” said Lewis.