Morris Nissan to be sold to competitor after 50-year run

Morris Nissan will be sold Oct. 5 to Daniel Island-based Hudson Automotive, which owns a Nissan dealership in North Charleston.

After 50 years, Morris Nissan is driving into the sunset.

The West Ashley car dealer will be sold to Daniel Island-based Hudson Automotive on Oct. 5, co-owner Bucky Morris said Monday. It will be renamed Charleston Nissan.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Hudson owns a Nissan dealership in North Charleston and offers several brands in seven other locations in North Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. The North Charleston store is often cited in TV commercials as the No. 1 Nissan dealership in South Carolina.

“We basically had an offer we couldn’t turn down,” Morris said. “I’m 70, and David (his brother) is 68. We have been at it for 50 years. It’s time to retire.”

He also said the business climate in the auto industry currently has “factories putting their eggs in a basket with mega-dealers. It was perfect timing for us. The stars lined up.”

Morris said talks have been going on for about two years with Hudson.

“They put together an offer we couldn’t refuse,” he said.

Morris expressed mixed emotions about the sale after being in business for half a century.

“My dad, D.P. Morris Jr., started with a dirt lot,” he said. “Between him and the rest of the family, we are proud of our accomplishments. Obviously, we wanted to keep it in the family. The offer we got was much better for the family’s future. All of our employees will be given the opportunity for jobs with the new company.”

The Morrises will retain ownership of the 6.5-acre “Savannah Auto mile” property where the dealership sits.

David Hudson, president of Hudson Automotive, said the timing was right.

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“We have been actively looking to expand in Charleston, and this presented the perfect opportunity for that,” he said.

Hudson, who is originally from Kentucky, bought the former Northside Nissan in 2007 and later moved his family to the Lowcountry, along with the dealership headquarters. He said the Morris deal includes a long-term lease with an option to purchase. Morris currently employs about 75 workers.

“We will maintain that and look to add to that in the future,” Hudson said of the employees.

“It was a long process getting to this point,” Hudson said. “We are very excited about it. We have enjoyed a lot of success over the years with the Nissan brand. Couple that with the growth going on in Charleston, and it’s a winning combination.”

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524.