Proposed sale of King Volvo to Rairdon dealership not happening

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 3, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - A proposed deal to have Rairdon's automotive dealership purchase King Volvo has been called off.

In February it was announced that Rairdon would purchase the Iowa Street dealership. During negotiations, however, it was discovered that the property had some gas and oil contamination in the back area that needed to be fixed.

The King family has focused on getting that cleaned up to Washington Department of Ecology standards, said Jason King, general manager at King Volvo.

During the cleanup process, Jason King decided he wanted to continue running the dealership, taking over the reins from his father Frank King, who is retiring.

Jason King said he wants to focus on selling new Volvo models as well as a line of high-end used vehicles, staying small to focus just on the dealership without getting spread too thin between work and family. His family previously owned King Nissan, which they sold to Wilson Motors earlier this year, as well as the Hyundai dealership, which they sold to Rairdon in July 2009.

"For me, having two kids, I didn't want to sacrifice my quality of life running several dealerships," Jason King said. "I'm happy being a tiny dealer on Bellingham's auto row."

Along with selling new Volvos and used vehicles, Jason King said he wants to grow the service department.

"I want that to be almost an independent repair shop, to give people another option," he said, adding that it will service different car models.

Jason King said he's optimistic about the industry moving forward. It was hit hard during the recession, but it did make dealerships more efficient, he said. Now customers are more interested in buying again, particularly with interest rates remaining low.

"I'm excited about doing this; it's been great telling customers that we aren't going anywhere," he said.

Greg Rairdon, who operates several dealerships in Western Washington, did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read his business blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/business or follow him on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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