Quantrell buys region's Subaru franchise

Central Kentucky's Subaru franchise has changed hands with Quantrell Auto Group buying it and using the brand to replace its Saturn business.

Quantrell President Bill Bridges said the group bought the franchise from World Class Subaru in Nicholasville and will officially open the business next week, though vehicles have been received and are for sale.

"It's a good fit," Bridges said of Subaru. "It just fits in to our auto group real well in terms of demographics and gives us another type of buyer other than Cadillacs and Volvos."

The brand will help fill the space vacated when Quantrell, located on New Circle Road across from Palumbo Drive, closed the Saturn portion of its operations in January after General Motors discontinued the brand.

"We had Saturn for 19 years and had a good run with it," Bridges said. "We were very sorry that we ended up losing Saturn but think this is a great replacement and very similar in pricing."

Quantrell plans to hire a dozen employees to staff the Subaru sales and service operations and will do some minor renovations to the former Saturn building to accommodate the new brand.

Before the sale to Quantrell, the Subaru brand had been the subject of a dispute, according to state officials. The automotive company had sought the ability to terminate its franchise with World Class Subaru, said Carlos Cassady, executive director of the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission.

The commission approved Subaru's motion on Sept. 10 but by that time, the franchise had been sold to Quantrell, rendering the issue moot, Cassady said.

A manager of and lawyer with World Class Auto Superstore could not be reached Friday.