For Capitol Auto owner, it’s about people, not cars

By LYNDON A. ZAITZ Of the Keizertimes Scott Casebeer, principal owner of Capitol Auto Group, is a car dealer who isn’t much of a fan of cars – even those he sells. He’d rather be riding a horse or encouraging his employees to get involved with their community. Capitol Auto Group had its start in 1927 when Douglas McKay opened Douglas McKay Chevrolet Co.; he later added a Cadillac dealership. McKay went on to serve as Salem mayor, a state senator, Oregon governor and U.S. Secretary of Interior under President Eisenhower. McKay sold the dealership to his two sons-in-law—Lester Green and Wayne Hadley, who changed the name to Capitol Chevrolet Cadillac; a Toyota franchise was added later. Scott Casebeer married into the family in 1977 and bought out Green and Hadley. After his divorce he began the dealer and sole owner. Capitol Auto Group recently moved the dealership and its four brands (Chevrolet, Cadillac, Toyota and Subaru) to a large campus on the Salem Parkway between Broadway Street and Cherry Avenue. The move was precipitated by manufacturer’s architectural requirements that could not be met on Mission Street. “All the manufacturers started to get very aggressive with individual designs for facilities,” said Casebeer. “If you wanted to maintain the franchise and the ability to get new vehicles and products, sooner or later you’d have to conform to their design.” It...

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