Sunbelt Nissan sold to Bob Richards Automotive Group

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After more than five decades as a Nissan retailer, Mike Watson sold his family’s interest in Sunbelt Nissan to the Bob Richards Automotive Group.

Bob Richards currently owns and operates Nissan, Toyota, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram franchises in the Augusta area, according to a news release. The deal was finalized Monday.

“Yes, it is true,” Watson said in the release. “I have decided to retire, but I wanted to let you know that the Bob Richards Automotive Group is among the very finest, with a tradition of excellence for many, many years. … It’s been an amazing 50 years selling and servicing Nissan cars, trucks, vans and SUV’s in this community.”

According to the release, Watson has been the principal dealer of Sunbelt Nissan for more than 40 years and earned the title of being the longest operating Nissan dealer east of the Mississippi River. In 1974, Watson took over dealership operations from his father, Jim, who had established it 11 years earlier. The elder Watson was an Army veteran and survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Mike Watson graduated from Butler High School in 1966, and attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a degree in business administration and an Air Force commission. He served in the Air Force for four years.

Between 1974 and 2016, Watson operated as many as three Nissan dealerships across Georgia and South Carolina and served on Nissan’s national dealer advisory board, the release stated.

By Doug Stutsman Wed, Sep 21, 2016 @ 10:01 am