Ray Brandt Dealerships Sold to 4 Competitors

NEW ORLEANS — The Ray Brandt family of auto dealerships — worth an estimated $280 million — has officially been broken up and sold to four other regional car dealers.

New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Gayle Benson — whose late husband Tom Benson made his fortune in the auto business — acquired Mercedes-Benz of South Mississippi, Porsche New Orleans, Volkswagen of Mississippi, Infiniti of South Mississippi and three premier collision centers across Mississippi and Louisiana

Troy Duhon, whose Premier Automotive Group now includes 40 stores in eight states, acquired Nissan, Hyundai-Genesis, Volkswagen and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealerships in Harvey.

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Damian Mills purchased Brandt’s Toyota dealership in Kenner.

And Matt Bowers acquired Brandt’s Nissan outlet in south Mississippi, as well as an Infiniti store in Metairie.

The sales bring to a close a four-year-old saga that involved a bitter legal dispute between Brandt’s widow Jessica and his grandchildren, and the potential for another lawsuit from Benson’s group alleging a conspiracy between Nissan Motor Group and Bowers to block her purchase of some of Brandt’s dealerships in Mississippi. Benson withdrew a complaint she had to the state’s Louisiana Motor Vehicle Commission last week.

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Originally, the plan was to split all the dealerships to Benson and Duhon, but the deal became complicated when five automakers exercised their right to choose different buyers.

Brandt’s auto empire began more than four decades ago with a single store in Gretna and grew to 20 locations at its peak. He died of pancreatic cancer in 2019.

Benson’s automotive group has more than 500 employees across a portfolio that includes Mercedes-Benz of New Orleans, Mercedes-Benz Van Center, and Best Chevrolet and Cadillac of New Orleans.

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“I am grateful to have this opportunity to welcome Mercedes-Benz of South Mississippi, Porsche New Orleans, Volkswagen of Mississippi, Infiniti of South Mississippi and our valued collision centers into our family of automotive enterprises,” Benson said in a press release. “These acquisitions align with our vision of delivering exceptional products and services while making a positive impact on the communities we serve. We look forward to building upon the strong foundations established by Ray Brandt and further elevate these businesses to new heights of success.” 

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