The Duncan Banner
After 29 years of operation, Battison Auto Group is changing ownership during the week of Dec. 17.
Larry Battison, who purchased the Buick/Plymouth/Chrysler/Dodge dealership in 1983, announced to his employees Tuesday he has sold the dealership to a group of investors from Edmond. Mike Terry, who ran the Hudiburg Auto Group dealership in Oklahoma City will be the new operator of the dealership.
Battison and his wife, Linda, are selling the dealership to move to Norman, which will put them closer to their adult children. Throughout the 1980s and the 1990s, Battison bought various vehicle franchises, including Pontiac, GMC, Jeep and Cadillac. In 1995, the dealership moved to the Lawton/Duncan Y, where it has been since.
“We have employees who have been here since the early days,” Battison said.
He has bought 50 percent rights in two dealerships in Oklahoma City. Although he will not be running them, he will own 50 percent of those dealerships, Battison Honda and Jim Norton Toyota.
Battison got approval of the ownership change by General Motors and Chrysler on Tuesday, which is when he chose to make the announcement to his employees. He said one thing he tried to do was reassure everyone they still have jobs.
“They’re not changing the name. The employees aren’t changing. The only thing changing is me,” Battison said.
The employees will be introduced to Terry in coming days, Battison said.
“They’re sad to see me leave, just like I’m sad to leave them,” he said about his employees. “I let them know their jobs are stable. Any time there’s a big change there’s apprehension.”
Aside from being part owner of a couple of Oklahoma City dealerships, he is also looking forward to having more time for family and relaxation. He said he is planning to spend time at his daughter and son-in-law’s horse ranch in Purcell and more time at his lake house at Lake Texoma.
“I’ve been semi-retired for five or six years now,” Battison said.
Battison said this is a necessary change and the next logical step for him. He admitted the transition, which will be marked by a brief closure on Dec. 17, will be bittersweet.
He said Duncan has been his home for 29 years, and he will miss the community and his employees.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time in Duncan,” Battison said. “We need to go on to the next chapter. Duncan will always be in my heart.”