The Qvale family, a West Coast dealership institution of sorts, has expanded its business to the East Coast, with the purchase of what had been one of the largest Audi dealers in the country in size and sales.

The Qvale Auto Group acquired Champion Audi in Coral Springs, FL, and renamed it Audi Coral Springs. The group plans to relocate Champion Audi’s Pompano outlet to Fort Lauderdale.

With three Audi stores already under Qvale ownership on the West Coast, the California-based family decided it was time to expand operations to the southeast and take advantage of south Florida’s strength as a luxury car market.

The family, which became Northern California’s first Volkswagen distributor in 1953, has much faith in Audi, VW AG’s luxury brand.

We have been following Audi’s progress,” says Kjell Qvale, group founder. “This purchase is in a key southeast market and with our long-standing history with Volkswagen and the current strength of the Audi franchise, we expect a winning combination.”

At the age of 90, Kjell Qvale is still active in the business and works closely with his two sons, Bruce and Jeff Qvale.

Bruce now runs the Florida stores and says he intends to use the success gained from the three Audi dealerships already in the Qvale family to restore both locations to top volume dealerships in the country.

“South Florida is a large and significant market for Audi business in the U.S.” says Donald G. Stephenson, director of the Audi of America’s Southern region. “We expect strong growth in south Florida as the industry recovers.”

The Qvale family still owns and operates British Motors in San Francisco, where it has 12 franchises.

Besides Audi, the organization represents Jaguar, Land Rover, Bentley, Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Bugatti, Honda, Subaru, Porsche, and Chevrolet.

The family’s automotive business began in 1947, when Kjell Qvale founded British Motors and built it into several dealerships selling a wide range of automobiles imported from Europe, including English-made MGs and Austin Healeys.

The family once built and sold limited-run sports cars such as the Jensen Interceptor and the Jensen Healey and later worked with De Tomaso Modena SpA to make the Qvale Mangusta sports car in the late 1990s.

sfinlay@wardsauto.com