Popular luxury car dealer celebrates long history, welcomes new owner

TORONTO, Dec. 15 /CNW/ - The sale of the Toronto landmark dealership Grand Touring Automobiles puts the storied British automobile vendor in new hands and sets long-time owner David Geneen on a course for new adventures in an industry he has enjoyed for four decades.

Grand Touring Automobiles, the only retailer in Canada to house all major British car brands under one roof (Jaguar, Land Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Bentley), has been purchased by Paul Cummings, president and CEO of PTC Automotive, effective November 1, 2009. Continuity of management at GTA will help ensure a smooth ownership transition.

Owning GTA is just one more chapter in Geneen's colourful and passionate history in auto retailing, a story that goes back to the 1960s and British United Automobiles, an ambitious store selling the BMC line of British cars in downtown Toronto that hired Geneen as a salesman. With a knack for selling cars and an affinity for British iron, Geneen touched down at an early iteration of the dealership that would become Grand Touring (selling BMW, Bentley, Alfa Romeo and Aston Martin) before moving to the now-legendary Sports Cars Unlimited where he added Mazda and Morgan to the list of cars he has represented.

It was inevitable that Geneen would launch his own dealership and Geneen Motorcar Company moved into the rarified air of exotic cars, initially representing Jensen and Aston Martin. He took on a Mazda franchise in the 1970s before selling out to a partner.

After a detour to get a degree in art history as a mature student at York University, Geneen was lured back to the business and to an old name: He joined GTA - then owned by entrepreneur George Minden - to sell Jaguar, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Minden sold the business to Geneen in 1993.

The array of brands has changed over the years (Land Rover and Rolls-Royce left and came back), but Geneen's constant passion has always been fine British cars, a legacy he leaves to new owners.

"David built a tremendous business that has withstood financial storms, changing fashions and automobile fads," says Cummings. "He has made a lasting impression on automobile retailing - not just here in Toronto but across the country."

Geneen isn't quite ready to quit just yet. While he hasn't announced a new venture, he plans to be active within the business and in his charitable endeavours. "It's a new chapter," he confirms. "There's always something else interesting out there."

SOURCE Grand Touring Automobiles

For further information: For further information: Don Robidas, Grand Touring Automobiles, (E) don@grandtouringautos.com, (P) (416) 530-1366

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