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Youngblood Auto expanding in Ozark to tune of $5M

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A year after entering Ozark, Youngblood Auto Group is working on a $5 million expansion to its dealership in the city.

Youngblood Auto Managing Partner John Widiger said the project would bring the Ozark dealership to 30,400 square feet from 14,000 square feet. Counting Youngblood Auto’s 2017 renovation of a former Dodge dealership in Ozark to create its current Ozark facility, the project cost is more than $6 million, Widiger said.

Widiger said the expanded dealership would add vehicle servicing and parts in Ozark, as well as a stand-alone showroom for Jeep vehicles, a fresh strategy by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

“Jeep is going to be where their focus is when they go forward as far as product and sales volume,” Widiger said, noting the Jeep brand would be separated from Chrysler, Dodge and Ram vehicles.

With the moves, Widiger said the dealership’s workforce is expected to double from 35 employees.

With BP Builders LLC on as general contractor and Rufus Louderback, owner of Contained LLC, as architect, the project is slated for completion in late July 2019, Widiger said. A groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion was held Nov. 15.

Youngblood Auto’s current building in Ozark will serve as a used car operation, with new cars sold at the expansion site, he said.

Youngblood Auto’s entrance into Ozark came as Fiat Chrysler switched up the rights in the Springfield area. Corwin Automotive Group was awarded the Springfield Jeep and Chrysler dealerships, in addition to Dodge and Ram sales. Youngblood Auto also received the Dodge and Ram brand names, and with the contract, began operating those brands along with Chrysler and Jeep vehicles in Ozark, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Youngblood Auto also operates a newly renovated Kia dealership at 3410 S. Campbell Ave., a Nissan dealership at 3505 S. Campbell Ave. and a used car lot at Walnut Lawn and Campbell, Widiger said.

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