Generations of Lehigh Valley motorists shopped and bought their cars at Rothrock Motor Sales, while others couldn’t miss the company’s distinctive jingles on area radio stations.

The longtime dealership and repair shop for Nissan, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles announced recently that it was sold to Massachusetts-based DCD Automotive Holdings. The business, which has a complex in South Whitehall Township next to the 15th Street exit off Route 22, now will carry the Nucar name.

A sales price was not available.

In a social media video post, Rothrock Motor Sales president and CEO David Rothrock said the company decided to sell “after much consideration.”

“We have decided to sell our family dealership which has been here in the Lehigh Valley since the early 60s,” he said. “And as part of making that decision, it was extremely important to myself and my family that we found a company that had similar philosophies in taking care of our employees and our customers.”

In the video, Rothrock introduced Christopher Dagesse, president and CEO of DCD. He co-founded the company in 2014 with his father, Dan, a longtime auto dealer in New Hampshire. According to a story in the Concord Monitor, they have been aggressively buying auto dealerships in New England and Delaware and now have more than two dozen of them.

“We truly couldn’t be happier,” Dagesse said. “We don’t just expand to expand. The dealership here entrusted us because of the team that David and your family created. The reputation, everything about it, what they have, it’s a perfect fit for who we are.”

Dagesse said he looks forward to taking the Rothrock legacy and growing it.

Nucar Nissan, the dealership formally owned by Rothrock, is seen Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in South Whitehall Township. (Emma Reed/The Morning Call)
Nucar Nissan, the dealership formally owned by Rothrock, is seen Tuesday, June 11, 2024, in South Whitehall Township. (Emma Reed/The Morning Call)

Long history

Rothrock Motor Sales was founded by Bruce Rothrock, a farmer’s son who loved fixing cars. He began his career as a mechanic at the Buick dealership in Emmaus before leasing a gas station in 1960 for his first repair shop.

He eventually started selling used cars, but zoning regulations stated that Rothrock had to also sell new cars. Because of startup costs, he connected with a then obscure Japanese brand, Datsun, in 1962. In the meantime, he acquired a Dodge franchise in Catasauqua that was relocated to Northampton.

Datsun, which is now Nissan, took off in the 1970s, forcing Rothrock to find a bigger location. He eventually acquired the site of a former drive-in movie theater near Route 22 that was built into the present dealership.

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