Don Drennen Motor Company
The company was founded in 1908 by Hubert Drennen as an outgrowth of the Drennen and Company Department Store, which had begun as a general store in 1869 and was selling automobiles alongside its wagons and buggies in Birmingham as early as 1903. The separate company's first location was at Avenue C and 20th Street South, representing Buick and Cadillac.
In 1914 Hubert's brother, Don Drennen Sr purchased the Loveman, Joseph and Loeb automobile department and opened another dealership a block away at Avenue C and 21st Street South. Soon later, Don volunteered with the U.S. Naval Reserve Flying Corps serving in World War I. Hubert operated both businesses, and they were formally merged after Don's return.
In July 1951 Don Drennen bought out Hubert's Ensley dealership and renamed the company "Don Drennen Motor Co.". His son, Don Drennen Jr joined the company after he graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1956. Drennen Jr became president of the company in 1968.
In 1972 Drennen relocated to the suburb of Hoover. He added AMC/Jeep to the lineup. After Chrysler bought AMC, Drennen took on the Chrysler franchise in 1992, becoming Don Drennen Buick Chrysler Jeep. Since that time the company's parts department has become one of the largest in the nation, delivering Mopar and other parts to a 15-state region. In 1993, Don Drennen III (called Ward) joined the company. He took over day-to-day management in 2005.
The company celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, becoming only the 2nd auto dealer in the nation to do so.
On May 14, 2009 Chrysler Corporation included the dealership in a list of 789 dealers it planned to stop servicing. Drennen vowed to appeal the company's decision, but was unable to win back their position as a Chrysler dealer. Then, on June 1, GM also notified the dealer they would "wind down" their relationship, but gave the dealership one year to close GM-related sales. In late October, however, GM stated the move was a mistake and re-established Don Drennen as a Buick dealer.
In April 2011, the Don Drennen Motor Company was purchased by Hendrick Automotive Group of North Carolina, who renamed it Hoover Buick and plan to rename it Hendrick Buick soon. Hendrick also plans $1 million in upgrades to the dealership.
- Ellaby, Liz (April 19, 2008) "'A long, interesting ride.' Don Drennen Motor Co. celebrates 100 years." The Birmingham News
- Kent, Dawn and Roy L. Williams (May 15, 2009) "Chrysler to remove 14 dealers, 5 in Birmingham." The Birmingham News
- Drennen, Ward (September 30, 2010) "Memorandum: Ward Drennen says auto bankruptcies were trying on a personal level." The Birmingham News
- Cooper, Lauren B. (April 12, 2011) "Don Drennen Buick sold to N.C. company." Birmingham Business Journal