Chicago Car Dealer’s Second Century as Family Business
Chicago's Patrick Dealer Group history with Henry Ford
With a 100-year tradition of excellence and elegance, Patrick Dealer Group in Chicago has literally been part of automotive history. What started in Detroit decades ago was later moved to downtown Chicago in 1971 by Hanley Dawson, Jr., and throughout the years has grown into one the largest, most trusted Chicago car dealers.
Hanley Dawson III, founder and owner of the Patrick Dealer Group of car dealers in Chicagoland, presides at the helm of our family-owned business. We are almost as old as the automobile industry itself. The idea for the business was sparked by his enterprising grandfather, Hanley Dawson, a 25-year-old bank teller.
It started in Detroit with Henry Ford and a bank teller
It was 1904 in Detroit, when young Hanley Dawson made the acquaintance of the legendary Henry Ford, whose automobile manufacturing plant was located across the street from the bank where Dawson worked. Dawson offered to sell used cars returned to the Ford plant, and from there he was granted the opportunity to sell new cars off the assembly line.
In 1907, Dawson was awarded the first new Ford franchise in Detroit— in the entire Midwest, for that matter. A photo of him standing outside the dealership more than a century ago holds a prominent place on the office wall of Hanley Dawson III to this day.
The business has changed over the years, but the rich family heritage and tradition remain as cherished as ever. Patrick has been a family-owned and operated business for more than four generations, embodying a spirit of family that extends to all our customer relationships and throughout our car dealers in Chicago and our two Chicago auto body shops.
The timeline of Patrick Dealer Group
History and tradition are among the values that set Patrick Dealer Group apart from other Chicago car dealers. Some highlights of the family history:
- 1904— Hanley Dawson begins selling Ford vehicles, right across the street from the Ford Factory in Highland Park, Michigan
- 1907— Hanley Dawson is awarded the Midwest’s first new Ford franchise
- 1933— Hanley Dawson’s Ford franchise is replaced with Chevrolet and General Motors franchises
- 1951— The second generation, Hanley Dawson, Jr., takes over the dealership from his father
- 1971— The family business comes to Chicago, to the corner of Rush and Ontario Streets, when Dawson, Jr. is awarded Chicago’s Cadillac factory retail branch operation. Dawson and his son, Hanley Dawson III, run that business as Hanley Dawson Cadillac until the early 1990’s
- 1979— Hanley Dawson sets out on his own and joins Chicago car dealers with the Patrick Cadillac dealership in Schaumburg, Illinois, named after his youngest son
- 1981— Chicago BMW and Chicago Saab franchises are added to the expanding operation in Schaumburg
- 1986— A third location is added to the Patrick group of car dealers in Chicago— this one in Libertyville, Illinois, selling GMC, Pontiac and Chrysler models
- 1991— A Chicago Volvo franchise is added to the Schaumburg Mall Drive location
- 1994— The fourth generation of the family, Hanley Dawson IV, joins the Patrick Dealer Group
- 2001— Patrick joins an elite group when BMW awards the group its new Chicago MINI Cooper franchise— one of only three car dealers afforded this honor
- 2002— Jaguar comes to Patrick, chosen over some 19 Chicago car dealers for a new franchise in Naperville, Illinois
- 2005— Hyundai is added to the Patrick Dealer Group and its group of dealerships in Schaumburg, IL
- 2008— Patrick acquires a Land Rover dealership, combining its showroom with Jaguar in Naperville, and brings Patrick Dealer Group to a total of 9 luxury car brands, including: MINI, Saab, Hyundai, Cadillac, Volvo, BMW, Fisker, Jaguar, and Hyundai.
Call Patrick car dealers in Chicago today to get behind the wheel of new luxury cars in Chicago.