ALBANY, Ga. -- John B. Prince III met with attorneys Tuesday morning to finalize the Prince Automotive Group's purchase of Edwards Motors here.
The local Buick and Cadillac franchises that had been under the Edwards Motors umbrella will officially become part of the Prince group today. The purchase is the ninth for Prince Automotive, which has dealerships in Douglas, Valdosta, Albany and the company's home base in Tifton.
"We think this is a good business decision," Prince said of the acquisition before meeting with attorneys to close the deal Tuesday morning. "We're not purchasing the real estate (at 948 W. Oglethorpe Blvd.), just the franchises and equipment. Having the Cadillac dealership gives us access to a luxury line of vehicles. We've always dealt in volume in the past.
"The good news for us is that this purchase helps us create a larger presence in Albany, Dougherty and Lee counties. It shows we're committed to this region, and it lets the citizens know we're serious about investing in this community."
The Prince Automotive Group CEO said the Edwards Motors inventory will be moved to the Prince Chevrolet of Albany dealership at 1001 S. Slappey Blvd.
"There won't be any real changes at the dealership," he said. "We'll continue to upgrade our existing facilities."
Prince started building his automotive empire in 1966 in Tifton, and he's gradually expanded throughout the region to include Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Honda, Toyota, Ford and Mercury dealerships.
"GM (General Motors) currently holds from 20 to 25 percent of the market share, so having such a large presence with the company that sells one of every four vehicles is important to us," Prince said. "It's just a business decision that makes sense."
Prince announced last month that he had purchased 7.79 acres of land adjacent to the Grand Island Club in Lee County. Despite speculation that he would move his Albany dealership to that site, the businessman noted that he has two years left on his lease at the Slappey Boulevard location.
"There's absolutely no decision that's been made about that land," Prince said when announcing the purchase. "I still have a two-year lease at my current location in Albany, and I have five three-year renewables in place. It's premature to speculate about anything to do with that land other than to say I made a business purchase."
Prince's daughters Heather and Heidi and his son Jay are part of the Prince Automotive Group team that was recently named Georgia Family Business of the Year.