It was 78 years ago when, Karl Knauz the father of the current chairman, Bill Knauz, created the dealership that would bear his name for generations to come. Karl Knauz after years of being a chauffeur opened a gas station in Lake Forest. Did he imagine that this modest beginning would come to be one of the most recognized dealerships in the country. The franchises they have now, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Hyundai, smart have put their trust in the Knauz family, (with Mercedes-Benz going all the way back to 1959). They have weathered the good times and the bad, and done so by taking care of customer's using 'The Golden Rule".
The Knauz families have a long history in this area:
Starting in 1934, Karl Knauz began the dealerships with a Desoto dealership, then a Chrysler dealership in 1941, which we still had until this past January when we retired the dealership to make room for our newest franchise Hyundai. The 60's saw the arrival of Land Rover followed in 1971 the arrival of BMW. In 1986, the Knauz family purchased the parcel of land the Autopark currently resides in May of 1995, in the first franchise (BMW) was moved to the Autopark with the construction of the current home of BMW, followed by Mercedes-Benz in September of 1997 and August of 1998 our Land Rover Center opened. On September 10th, 2001 the last of the dealerships moved out of Lake Forest into the current home of smart and Hyundai. This building also houses our Collision and Detail centers and our corporate offices. The next few years were filled with further expansion with the addition of the MINI franchise, the almost doubling of the BMW and Mercedes-Benz service departments. While the past couple of years have been filled with opening the Knauz North Pre-Owned center approximately one mile north of the Autopark and acquiring the smart and Hyundai franchises the Knauz Autopark strives to meet your automotive needs today and for years to come.
The Knauz family also believes that being a beacon in the community is important; that's why they've spent so much time, money, and effort supporting causes they believe in. While Bill Knauz has turned over the running of the company to his son-in-law William Madden, most days he'll still stop by the office, unless the weather is conducive for his second passion in life... Flying.
Throughout the years, the Knauz family has established itself as a leader in the automobile industry. Our employees pride themselves on outstanding service and quality sales. Our customer satisfaction is always among the top ranked nationwide, receiving numerous awards and our reputation as a good corporate citizen within the community still stands. Now, as we begin our 76th year we are humbled by our history, and eternally grateful for all the thousands of customers that have allowed us to earn their business.
This respect for customers and an interest in the community stems back to the companies 1934 roots, and has been continued in the dealerships open today. In the earlier days, Bill Knauz remembers getting to know all of the customers by name. That's a little harder to do today, he said, but they do see a lot of repeat business including some of the grandchildren of people who have bought cars from the Knauz dealership in the past.
In the showrooms, you'll always find the latest models, and the knowledgeable salespeople will help you find the perfect car for you, be it a BMW, MINI, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Hyundai or a smart car. If you need a vehicle, they've been selling and servicing them for so long, that they can anticipate and satisfy your needs. It is often joked that long time Mercedes-Benz sales associate, Dennis Santi has worked here longer than half the employees have been born. Dennis this year celebrates his 40th year with the company, with no retirement in his future. Dennis is just one example of the way the employees feel working for the Knauz family, fortunate to work for a family that cares about their employees, customers and their community.
Even in today's uncertain times, you can always find a friendly face and they will greet you with a smile. We are thankful for our customers and we will go out of our way to make you feel welcome and to be able to continue to earn your business. Today is the start of another 75+ years of serving our customers.
In addition to our Mercedes-Benz, BMW, MINI, Land Rover, Hyundai and smart dealerships. We also have a state of the art; factory certified Collision & Detail Center, our Pre-Owned Center Knauz North (located approximately 1.2 miles north of the Autopark) and an indoor vehicle and tire storage facility.