After more than four decades, Bentley Zionsville has announced it will no longer sell Bentley cars.
Because of Bentley franchise requirements, the Zionsville dealership’s new automobile franchise has been sold to Coast to Coast Imports Collection, 9450 N. Aronson Rd., which will change its name to Bentley Indianapolis, said Greg Albers, co-owner of Albers Motorcars. The Zionsville dealership will change its name from Bentley Zionsville to Albers Motorcars and will continue to offer independent service and parts for Bentley cars more than 10 years old as well as Crewe-built Rolls-Royce cars up to 2002 models.
Albers declined to share how much the franchise was sold for.
Albers’ father, Hermann, opened the Zionsville dealership in 1963 as a service and parts point for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Cars. In 1969, it became Albers Rolls-Royce, Indiana’s sole franchise dealership for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, according to Albers, who co-owns the dealership with his brother, Mark. It represented both brands as a small boutique dealership until the brands split in 2003, and the dealership was forced to choose to represent only one of the brands because its facilities could not accommodate the demands of both manufacturers. The owners changed the dealership’s name to Bentley Zionsville.
According to Albers, in 2004, Bentley’s new owners made it clear small boutique Bentley dealerships such as Bentley Zionsville would be phased out because they did not fit within their vision for the future of the company.
“Bentley and Rolls-Royce split, and Bentley basically came in and told us, in the end, they were going to be building a lot more cars, and they were no longer going to (continue) what they called cottage industries or small dealerships,” Albers said. “So, for the past 20 years, we have sort of seen this coming.”
Albers said for the dealership to have continued selling new cars, it would have needed to build a larger facility, which would have required a move. The Albers brothers believed increasing demands from the manufacturer made it clear they could not continue to operate as a small boutique operation.
“We decided it was not in our best interest economically to go build a $5 million or $6 million building,” Albers said. “It’s sort of bittersweet in that this is what I’ve done since I was a kid. It’s tough to let go of something like that. You try to make the best decisions you can, and I think for us, at our age, this is probably the best decision for us. It’s a way for us to continue to stay in town and work with the classic Rolls’ and Bentleys, which we really love to do.”
The siblings will continue to co-own Albers Motorcars and will retain its eight employees.