Ventura County auto dealer Leo Bunnin may be opening his first dealership on the South Coast, as he makes a serious bid for a Chrysler-Jeep-Hyundai dealership in Goleta that recently suspended new car sales.
Bunnin, a longtime fixture in the Southern California car business, got his start in the Tri-Counties with an Infiniti dealership in Ventura a number of years ago. He eventually built a mini-empire focused on Ventura County, with a strong emphasis on General Motors products, including Buick and Cadillac.
But Bunnin isn’t fazed by taking on a new brand, said spokesman Shane Morger, who added that “manufacturers are looking for any good operator.” The Goleta acquisition could help Bunnin diversify, by giving it a franchise for hot-selling Hyundai models, along with a resurgent Chrysler-Jeep brand.
Bunnin, who rose to the top ranks of GM dealers in the West, suffered a setback when GM shut the Saturn brand after a failed buyout bid by Penske Automotive Group. He recently reopened that dealership as the Bunnin Auto Outlet along Highway 101 in Ventura.
Morger said that if the bid is successful, the South Coast Chrysler-Jeep-Hyundai dealership will definitely have “Bunnin” in its name.