Bakersfield's two decade-old Volvo dealership has closed, apparently as a result of an agreement with the manufacturer, making it at least the city's third high-end new car lot to close this year.

Sangera Automotive Group's Volvo Cars Bakersfield still has some of the Swedish-made vehicles in stock but quit marketing them for sale about a month ago, General Manager Damon Culbertson said Thursday.

"A decision was made between us and Volvo to kind of dissolve the partnership," he said. "We just decided that we were going to go a different direction." He declined to discuss how local sales were going before the closure decision.

No jobs were lost as a result of the split, Culbertson said. Sangera has more than 125 employees, and those devoted to Volvo were reassigned. Sangera also sells vehicles made by Mercedes Benz and Subaru, as well as used cars and trucks.

Sangera referred calls to Volvo, which did not respond Thursday to a request for comment.

A letter sent recently to local Volvo owners states the Bakersfield dealership will close effective Friday. Because they will be unable to have their Volvos serviced locally, it referred them to four other dealers: Bob Smith Volvo Cars Calabasas, in Calabasas; Galpin Volvo in Van Nuys; Harris Volvo Cars Fresno, in Fresno; and Smith Volvo Cars, in San Luis Obispo.

"We thank Volvo Cars Bakersfield and their team for their quality efforts in servicing customers over the last 20 years," the letter says.

Customers interested in buying a Volvo can "technically" still do so at the Sangera lots at 5500 and 5600 Gasoline Alley Drive, Culbertson said, but the buyer would be notified Sangera no longer represents the brand. He said the company expects to return unsold Volvos to the manufacturer.

"I just think that, you know, from our standpoint, the real estate that we had that was represented by Volvo, at this point in time, is better used to service the existing products that we have," he said.

The closure follows the end of Maserati and Alfa Romeo sales in Bakersfield earlier this year.

Mo Hosseini, director of operations for 10 vehicle franchises employing 640 people in Bakersfield, said the group halted sales of the Italian brands at the end of January because they were not profitable.

"Unfortunately (it) wasn't very successful," he said.

The lot where Maserati and Alfa Romeo brands were being displayed sold eight to 10 vehicles per month, Hosseini said in a recent interview.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf. Sign up at for free newsletters about local business.

(10) comments


Word on the street was that Volvo USA wanted them to spend $4 million out of pocket to build a brand new showroom..... That's quite a large "investment" for a small market like Bakersfield....


Your superficial observations and glib assumptions about future production in China leave much unsaid.

I'm a member of Volvo Club of America and am well aware of the history of the company from its founding to the present. In other words as to the recent owners of the company you didn't tell me anything I didn't know.

That said I'm not given to superficial and glib assumptions about the company or its products.


Several years ago when we were shopping for our first Volvo my brother, a Volvo owner and enthusiast described Sangera as: "We sell Mercedes and Subaru and, oh, yea, if you really want one we'll sell you a Volvo." Prior to our purchase of a new 2018 V90 Cross Country we shopped at Sangera.

The sales rep was nice but behaved like it was a real bother to dig the new Volvos out from behind other non-Volvos. At one point said we'd have to schedule an appointment to see a car we wanted to look at. We did and when we showed up at the appointed time the rep, said he'd forgotten it and was busy with anther customer looking at a Subaru. He tried to work with both of us at the same time. At the end of the day we couldn't see the car we wanted and ended up buying our new car at Smith Volvo in San Luis Obispo.

Owing to the difficulty of getting legacy parts for my old 1997 V90 wagon from experience, I had gotten into the practice of ordering them from Smith Volvo whose employees are very healpful.

Richard P

But, But, But, the economy is the best ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




Love my '99 Saturn wagon . . . like many loyal owners. 280,000 mi. original engine and all, still runs like new. Penske once thought so . . . and wish they were still showroom . . . oh well. Volkswagen bought Volvo's Wireless, but we need something US here in Bako.
Just opining, as usual.


When did Maserati and Alfa Romeo become considered high end cars? Sure, nicer than average but high end?

Inconvenient Truth

When did Volvo become considered a high end car? Overpriced? Yes. High-end? No.


Obviously there's much "inconvenient Truth" doesn't know about design or he hasn't really been doing much looking. Lacking outward design pizzazz isn't the same as not high end. There's much "Truth" doesn't know about the brand or the philosophy of the Swedes who aren't given to glitz and glam. Look at the design of their furniture and architecture (including the royal palace) for a clue.

Inconvenient Truth

Sorry, Stephen. There's much you don't know about Volvo. They haven't been a Swedish company since they were bought by Ford in 1999, and were taken over by the Chinese company Geely in 2010. They will introduce no more ICE models which means they will be primarily producing coal-burning electric cars for the Chinese market in the future.

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