Is Roger Penske The New Owner Of Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson Businesses?

rogerpenskeSince the tragic disparition of Bruce Rossmeyer in a motorcycle accident last July, I was aware that the Bruce Rossmeyer’s family and other shareholders of his Harley-Davidson empire decided to put all his dealerships on the auction block (Destination Daytona and 7 other dealerships). Rumor is that a transaction would have been concluded or at least a letter of intent signed by Roger Penske or via another company to acquire all Rossmeyer’s businesses.

If it is the case, the 72-year old Roger Penske Sr. would have no financial difficulty closing such a transaction, whatever the price agreed. Forbes ranked him last year number 382 in the list of the richest persons in the world. A former racer, he operates more than 300 automobile franchises in the US and abroad, selling more than 40 different brands. He is one of the corporate directors at General Electric and has business interests in Penske Racing (Nascar & Le Mans racing), Penske Truck Leasing (a joint venture with GE), just bought the Saturn brand from GM, and has many other automobile and truck related businesses. He is also part owner of the Deer Valley Ski Resort. He is considered one of the most influential people in Sports. My calls to get official confirmation are still not returned at time of publication.

37 Responses to “Is Roger Penske The New Owner Of Rossmeyer’s Harley-Davidson Businesses?”

  1. 1 nicker Sep 22nd, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    Penske is nothing if not a VERY shrewd businessman.
    This is potential deal worth watching.


  2. 2 Grayhawk Sep 22nd, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    You can bet if he closed the deal he did not do it as a playtoy or for ego as in the Saturn deal he looked at the Canadian segment of Saturn and is shutting down all Canadian Saturn entities if what I read is accurate. So the dealerships best be on their toes and profitable projected as it looks like he can make a decision towards path forward once under his helm.

  3. 3 Donny Sep 22nd, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    If it is confirmed I bet that Roger Penske paid a low price. He is a brilliant businnessman and contrary to public biker opinion, Rossmeyer’s dealerships were not necessary very profitable. I even heard that they were all losing money since the start of the recession. Expect Penske to clean the dealerships, close some and make the rest extremely profitable. It is well known that Will & Rossmeyer were not very interested to run the businesses. Penske knows the automotive business…Watch out.

  4. 4 lou Sep 22nd, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Sports? How is he in sports? Trucks and nascar? I was a former tennis pro, Sitting in a car being fat like tony stewart does not in my book consider him a so called athlete.

  5. 5 Mike Greenwald Sep 22nd, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Is tennis less of a sprt than handball?
    Is it less of a sport than than martial arts?
    Is tennis less of a sport than war?
    Penske’s racing teams are not the dynasty of winners that they once were, however, business is good and his name is out there in front of the public. He will succeed at the business of his choosing.

  6. 6 Steve Carr Sep 23rd, 2009 at 3:23 am


    This discussion is not about what an athlete is or is not. That was and has been a highly debated subject for elementry and middle school kids. No, sir this is a litttle more than that, this subject has to do with things that really matter, things that dont involve bouncing balls and courts or fields. Please find an ESPN blog or some other outlet for your athletic debates.

    Steve Carr

  7. 7 BikerMarc Sep 23rd, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Good scoop Cyril.

    Penske is a very good businessman from all I’ve seen and heard.

    Not surprised with the sale. Economy has stunned many of the Harley dealerships, especially the locations with big palatial mortgages.

    Penske is the right guy at the right time for the Rossmeyer empire.

    Stay tuned, I would not be surprised if Penske ended up with 100+ HD dealerships by the time this recession is over.


  8. 8 bigalyts Sep 23rd, 2009 at 6:45 am

    Don’t anybody worry about Roger Penske , not being Anything, but at the TOP OF HIS GAME ALWAYS ! Rossmeyers empire was good, that was alot of years ago. He was living on Float. He was busy showing the Biker World that All was GOOD. It was all FLOAT, one deal to the next. At the end of the day do you think Ft. Lauderdale needed 3 Super Stores? Hell no, what a stupid, stuoid costly mistake. How much negative dollars make up $10 mil in the Negative, anf that’s just Ft. Lauderdale. His Empire if the Family CASHES OUT, All the Rossmeyers would have to go back to Work……………………..

  9. 9 Brandon Sep 23rd, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I always thought that the Rossmeyer assets were sand castles. The tide of the recession has washed out his dealerships. Anyone buying his businesses will buy them only at the price of the real estate at today’s very discounted prices, minus the debt. Almost nothing left…

  10. 10 doc Sep 23rd, 2009 at 7:31 am

    “Only bullfighting, mountain climbing and auto racing are sports, the rest are merely games”.

    Ernest Hemingway

  11. 11 J Sep 23rd, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Nah, I’m not buying this- Penske has enough on his plate witth Saturn alone, he’s traditionally not been the sort to take on more leverage than he can handle;

    Owning these dealerships is an ego stroke, not a cash flow vehicle- definitely not Penskes’ style.

    I suspect this rumor is out merely to entice potential suitors, nothing more…. The beauty of this strategy is that Penske corporate will always have “no comment” to any aquisition rumor.

    Nice try tho, Rossmeyer family……

  12. 12 1550TC Sep 23rd, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Sitting there in Sturgis on that sad Thursday right after lunch I knew it was going to be a a sad day like 911 

    after hearing of his tragic death the succession plan was one that came to my mind……….Shelly I had head was who he was grooming to take over , having met Will a few times I just didn’t see him as the heir to the empire. The other thought I had was hearing about this empire and how they sold about 12% of HD’s total production ??

    Penske loves troubled/buy em cheap companies and numbers like the 12% of hd’s total sales look so yummmmmmmy to him iam sure. Just look at his Longo Toyota sales! If Penske can get into a deal with sales numbers like this, its right up his alley. He loves situations where the tail can wag the dog.

    As for the

    always thought that the Rossmeyer assets were sand castles

    who knows iam not a CPA

    BUT when the biggest HD store is on main street in Sturgis selling used HD’s with a carnival barker and just a whole circus act, you know things aren’t very good. I cant see a Penske store like LONGO out in LA ever resorting to that type sales promotion.

    As for Penske I have always been impressed with his business empires and he is one shrewd sob, you’re in or you’re out with him no fence sitters, you produce or your out… just ask Ryan Newman or Paul Tracey….. and guys he like lil Al , Helio and Emo he stands behind till the bitter end.

  13. 13 Patrick Sanford Sep 23rd, 2009 at 9:35 am

    J. What do you know than Cyril and others don’t know?!?

  14. 14 John Nasi Sep 23rd, 2009 at 10:21 am

    Having one of the largest figures in the automotive and racing industry taking interest in the motorcycle industry would be awesome news for everyone involved.
    Roger would resource and implement some serious talent for certain success, and the world wide exposure of this investment would secure great interest in this market.

    From a personal level he is surprisingly a humble gentleman on or off the track.

  15. 15 J Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Don’t know nuttin, other than the obvious- you’re talking about a guy who traditionally buys core businesses that cash flow, so buying a set of retail stores doesn’t fit into the Penske model;

    Whatever Penske buys- be it Detroit Diesel, the K-Mart auto shops, Saturn- Penske buys hard assets, and there isn’t anything hard about Rossmeyers’ deal- it has very little intrinsic value. Penske also buys growth, not market share, and realistically, Harley isn’t a growth model.

    Penske doesn’t buy the stores that sell the widgets- he buys the machines that make the widgets.

  16. 16 J Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Oops- cept for all the car dealers he owns, of course- lol…… But his car dealership empire is still organically grown from his earliest days.

    If Penske really wanted to be involved in Harley, I just think he’d think bigger- he doesn’t have to screw around at the retail level, he could buy a good chunk of Harley outright if he wanted it.

  17. 17 Grayhawk Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:44 am

    Do not think Cyril would put it out there if not some interest was confirmed by initiation from one leaking out.

    Having said that there is a time period I believe when dealing with a sell out of a dealership that takes 45 days or so for example to run the coorporate traps if you will much less what would be involved if one is considering one or all thirteen entities that Bruce had his finger in.

    I also am not sure if HD would enter into another agreement/agreements like Bruce accumulated over time with one person having controlling interest in so many individual dealerships/i.e. individual contracts as some say that is why the rules of contract were changed so they HD could limit the influence one could accumulate with multible contracts. Could be interesting as things play out if/when founded in detail, No matter who buys what or what entities.

    Never hurts to have first class business entities enter into your market arena whether it be your specific market segment or not.

  18. 18 lou Sep 23rd, 2009 at 11:49 am

    well put bigalyts,kinda sad really huh.

  19. 19 1550tc Sep 23rd, 2009 at 1:05 pm


    so they HD could limit the influence one could accumulate with multible contracts

    one of the best things i heard about Bruce was he would go to bat for some of the lesser dealer and the influence he had at HD


    Good point about the car stores, I knew you would correct yourself 🙂

    nothing wrong with retail car stores look at how many guys have started there, its bricks and mortor and not some fast buck dot cum business, their steady cash flow operations.

    J i know its 09 and a whole different time but look at this numbers on Longo and hey Longo dont have 2 bikes a year for additional traffic

    J ive been to this store and this is an old artcile but its just staggering number$ at this dealership

  20. 20 Grayhawk Sep 23rd, 2009 at 1:48 pm


    Contractualy HD has the ability to Limit the number of dealership one person can have/be awarded the contract of; with same person having the controlling interest in, fact.


    Maybe from a another point of view if you owned a small mom and pop store in xxx, usa and say a walmart, referenced as larger business example only, that had resources far more accumulative than mom and pop business, they mom and pop dealership may not have the ability/resources/debt of pocket to compete over time,

    Whether walmart, Bruce in this scenario is seen as/or is a good guy or not and never does anything for someone of lesser was not the point. No more no less

  21. 21 1550tc Sep 23rd, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    I meant Longo dont have 2 bike weeks a year for additional customer traffic

    I agree with J Nasi , RP would be good to have in the market, John i love Penske’s line ” you are what you wear ” lol is easy to say that when you have Hugo Boss as sponser 🙂


    in all honesty there are some real nice stores thru out the TN NC and so-west USA, the harley stores are great places to stop and vist………….on a recent trip i was just blown away with the service dept and staff at Bubbas/Boswells and Colliers

  22. 22 Dave Blevins Sep 23rd, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    You never know how things like this might work out, but I can’t help dreaming of an HD/Penske/Buell relationship that also involved MV Augusta… woo-hoo!
    Some Penske CVO’s would be exciting, like the old days of the GM COPO… hey, I can dream can’t I ?

  23. 23 David Sep 23rd, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Well guy’s I didn’t know Penske was On the board of GE!! As you all know GE has been in bed with Iran for the last 8 years at least selling them all kinds of tech through the back door. I refuse to (and hope you will do your homework on this)buy anything that is made by GE or any subsiderary co. Now it looks as though I will expand this to any Penske owned business. GE(Jeffery Inmel) is in also in bed with the Govt.on Cap and Trade which looks to increase your cost(read taxation) on any carbon footprint you may want to leave. It will drive small and medium size business OUT of business. Everyone should be deeply involed with getting the nation back on track and quit letting govt. ram onething after another down our throats. WATCH WHAT YOU BUY AND FROM WHOM IT COMES! Because you are supporting massive take over of the American Way if you dont!!!!

  24. 24 bigalyts Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Greyhawk, 1550cc You Guys are to Shrewed ! You are really working with Penske on this Deal, eh! You will get the Price down for Roger ! You are reading in this Deal, like an Imaginary Represenative for Penske . Listen to yourselves, If Roger wants this Deal then He is doing MISSIONARY work. If He Buys Rossmeyer’s Assets then he must being doing it as a 501 C3 (Donation Status). You don’t need to be an Accountant to know Basic Biz 101. He Financed Destination Daytona and Built if in “TOP DOLLAR TIMES” . How many Years has it been Opened less than 5. How many Years has it turnrd a Positive Cash Flow, between None and One ! How much Equity do you think He has there NEGATIVE $20 MIL and Fort Lauderdale He Paid $6 Mil for the Franchise back in around 98 and He built 3 Places in TOP DOLLAR TIMES so now what $10 Mil for the 3 Stores and $6 Mil equalls $16 mil MAN ON MAN ” WHAT A WEB WE WEAVE WHEN WE PRACTICE TO DECIEVE”!

  25. 25 Grayhawk Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Bigalyst, your ability to decipher others comments is truly amazing, a gift for sure.

    But pales when compared to your Insider Insight and Comptroller level grasp of the physical financials and business worth of the mans business entities. I’ll put a word in if I cross paths with Roger to add you to the acquisition team. wlol.


  26. 26 1550tc Sep 24th, 2009 at 1:07 pm


    You are really working with Penske on this Deal, eh!

    Bigalyt I just looked in my drive way and no Penske vehicles on it and iam not a Penske racing fan, I hated Rusty & Kurt B, i did visit the shop and have some Hugo Boss, if that counts for employment?

    Thanks for the insight on the $$ and yeah to me some of $$$ just don’t add up, its like so many deals of the past years of “ lets lend cash to anybody with a pulse ”

    bigalyts is Bernie Madoof in any of these deals??? He must be, it seems he f—ked everybody over down there!! It does sound like quite the web!

    As for the 501 C3 (Donation Status), Penske can do that under these 2 categories? I dint take BIZ 101 just 102, buy low sell HIGH for cash!!

    So here goes for my 501 C3 (Donation Status), suggestions

    501(c)(7) — Social and Recreational Clubs……….stores have HOG chapters right??


    501(c)(26) — State-Sponsored Organization Providing Health Coverage for High-Risk Individuals……hmmmmmmmmm riding is risky right?
    IMO they are better than your

    501(c)(3) — Religious, Educational, Charitable, Scientific, Literary, Testing for Public Safety, to Foster National or International Amateur Sports Competition, or Prevention of Cruelty to Children or Animals Organizations

  27. 27 bigalyts Sep 24th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    All in Fun Guys, I wish I was in a Posistion that they would even Let me look at the Financials because I am serious Buyer ! I think that the Motor Cycle Buisness is The Kind of Buisness that every body can Make a Million Dollars ! It is ” You Start with TWO Million and You get ou when You have ONE Million left !

  28. 28 1550tc Sep 25th, 2009 at 1:04 pm


    All in Fun Guys, no kidding beats getting into a pissing match on here after u had 12 bud lime

    bigalyts that is BIZ 103 or is it BIZ 104

    You Start with TWO Million and You get out when You have ONE Million left !

    BIZ 104 is this this course I think?

    How do you start a smart company give your kid a big a one!! This is probably the course that Shelley and Will don’t want to take and have opted out of at the
    U of HD Successions Plan

  29. 29 Jim Nasi Sep 25th, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    Penske is the man……..he dominates and kicks ass at everything he does, this would be nothing but a good thing….

    Cyril, hope you are doin well……

    Over and FUCKING out

  30. 30 David Sep 26th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    My God Jim, I think you have really had One too many Bud Light’s. Wake up and smell the rose’s.

  31. 31 John Sep 27th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Negotiations going on? Or interrupted?

  32. 32 crabeens Sep 28th, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Ok folks, some you of are right, some kind of right and some dead wrong. Lets say RP were to do this; he would not be overt in doing so and would probably be ghosted in some way. But I can say this and that is it has not closed yet but stay tuned. Cyril got the scoop first so he gets to place a flag in it as his own. Good sluthing

  33. 33 Xknow Sep 28th, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Negotiations going on. Letter of intent?

  34. 34 fuji Sep 30th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    As of today Penske is a no go with Saturn/ GM, So there goes another letter of intent

  35. 35 Mike Greenwald Sep 30th, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    In breaking news today, General Motors has confirmed that plans for the Penske Automotive Group to purchase the Saturn division have been canned. Because of this, GM has officially announced that the Saturn division will be slowly winding down, eventually to be completely killed off.

    According to Penske, this decision is not due to any foul interactions with General Motors or Saturn retailers, but instead because of the inability to source new products beyond what the company had asked GM to build on contract.

    No official word has been given on when the demise of Saturn will be complete. All we know is, you’d better go out and get that Sky Red Line before it becomes a collector’s item. Click through the post to read the official announcement from GM’s CEO, Fritz Henderson.

    General Motors Media Statement Attributed President & CEO Fritz Henderson

    Today we learned that Penske Automotive Group (PAG) has decided to terminate discussions with General Motors to acquire Saturn. This is very disappointing news and comes after months of hard work by hundreds of dedicated employees and Saturn retailers who tried to make the new Saturn a reality. PAG’s announcement explained that their decision was not based on interactions with GM or Saturn retailers; rather it was because of the inability to source new products beyond what it had asked GM to build on contract.

    As a result of PAG’s decision, we will be winding down the Saturn brand and dealership network, in accordance with the wind-down agreements that Saturn dealers recently signed with GM. Pursuant to the terms of those agreements, the wind down process will be determined and communicated shortly.

    Saturn customers and owners will continue to be able to purchase and have their vehicles serviced at Saturn retailers during this process. Once the wind down is complete, Saturn owners will still be able to have their vehicles serviced at other GM dealerships. We will be communicating with our customers very soon to explain the next steps in this process.

    Today’s disappointing news comes at a time when we’d hoped for a successful launch of the Saturn brand into a new chapter. We will be working closely with our dealers to ensure Saturn customers are cared for as we transition them to other GM dealers in the months ahead. I’d also like to thank every GM employee and Saturn retailer who worked so hard to try to make this new beginning happen for Saturn.

  36. 36 Grayhawk Sep 30th, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    How many times has the misses walked out of the room only to come back to the bedroom, The fat lady, no pun intended, is warming the pipes but has not started to sing at least not too loud.

    Penkse had the Koreans who were to supply Korean Saturns for them walk on their deal, as a result if you will, after GM as defined by GM shut down the supply of American Saturn cars to Penske after 2011 that left Penske without a supply source; without a car supplier after GM ceased Saturn production, no Saturn deal.

    But like all deals its not over till its completely dead on the vine or when the last Saturn rolls off the line. If GM tells its Saturn dealers they have till (x) date in 2010 to close it may leave a window open if someone else can produce the cars as no business group would enter into a deal that has no supplier locked in after the first 2 years.

  37. 37 nitroglide Sep 30th, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    having a heavy hitter likepenske in the dealership ring cant hurt Harleys business and image. i f
    so i wish him well. miss bruce. hey tennis player you know where you can stick your racket.
    nitromethane dream syall.

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