About Us

Von Housen History

With over 50 years serving the luxury automobile industries clients, Von Housen Automotive Group owns and operates three Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Northern California; Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento, Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills, Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin, as well as Sprinter of Rocklin and Smart Center of Sacramento.

Ranked as the sixth largest new car dealer in the region. Employing over 250 individuals in the greater Sacramento region, Von Housen Automotive Group is ranked as the 11th largest family owned business in Sacramento.

In 1954, 19 year-old George Grinzwitsch, Sr. arrived in America fresh from Germany, with no inkling that he would someday create one of Sacramento’s most successful automotive retail centers, The Von Housen Automotive Group.

Despite the fact that he spoke little English and knew little about cars, Grinzewitsch managed to talk his way into a job as a mechanic and later as a service manager for Oxford Motors, a downtown Sacramento auto dealership owned by race car driver Sammy Weise. Shortly after he began with Weise, he met Delia Roth, whom he married in 1959. While working for Weise, Grinzewitsch developed an interest in road racing. Soon young Grinzewitsch was traveling the West Coast circuit, working as a mechanic and occasionally driving a race car. Later, he would travel the racing circuit as a top-ranked professional driver until the early 1960s, winning several North American driving titles, including the prestigious Pacific Coast Championship in 1962.

In later 1958, Grinzewitsch left Oxford Motors and opened his own auto parts and repair shop with partner Carl Meyer. They named the business Von Housen, which in German means “from the better house.”

***In 1961, the Grinzawitsches had their only son George, Jr. They also expanded into sales and secured dealership rights to sell Peurgeots, Range Rovers and a line of British cars known as Morgans, as well as the bizarre Amphicar, which was half-auto and half-boat.

***In 1964, George Sr. longtime friend and business partner, Carl Meyer, passed away.

1963 marked the beginning of a long-term relationship with Mercedes-Benz in the Sacramento community. At the time, Studebaker Company held the exclusive franchise to all Mercedes-Benz products sold in the United States. However, in 1964, Mercedes-Benz dissolved its relationship with Studebaker and formed its own distribution company, Mercedes-Benz of North America. Of the 800 dealers nationwide who had been selling German cars through Studebaker, only about 100 were retained as dealers by Mercedes-Benz of North America, Grinzewitsch being one of them at the age of 27. It was a rough beginning for Mercedes-Benz in Sacramento-Von Housen’s sold only 60 to 70 cars per year.

1970 George Sr. moved the location from Fulton Ave to 1810 Howe Ave where it still stands today.

In 1974, George Grinzewitsch, Jr. joined his father at Von Housen Motors working part time after school as a porter in the detail department and as the warranty administrator. While attending college, he held positions in the parts department and as service department dispatcher. He sold cars at British Motors in 1980 to 1981. He then moved back to the service department where he worked as a service advisor.

From 1984 to 1985, George Jr. became service manager at Von Housen. After his extensive training and experience, coupled with his 1985 graduation from the National Auto Dealers Academy, George Jr. became a partner with George Sr. in 1987 as general manager of Von Housen Motors.

In 1998- George Sr. and George Jr. built 1 of 3 in the nation “factory authorized service-only facilities in USA, built in Rocklin, CA.

2001- George Grinzewitsch Jr. 40 Years old becomes the youngest Chairman of the Board for MBUSA Dealers’ Association.

June 2003- Doors open at the new state-of-the-art facility at Mercedes-Benz of El Dorado Hills servicing the growing community of El Dorado County and surrounding areas.

December 2003- Von Housen Automotive Group opened Mercedes-Benz of Reno, a partnership with the Reno Sparks Indian Colony.

February 2004-  The Asbury Group purchased Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento from the Grinzewitsch family as part of their expansion into California.

2007- George Grinzewitsch Sr. unexpectedly passed away at the age of 70.

April 2009- Von Housen opens its fourth state-of-the-art facility in the greater Sacramento region with Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin. Serving the greater Placer County region- it brings a new level of excellence to the car buying experience.

July 2009- Von Housen Automotive Group purchases back Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento from Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. The acquisition reinstates the Von Housen Automotive Group as owners of the first Mercedes-Benz dealership established in Sacramento over fifty ago by the Group’s founders- the Grinzewitsch family.

Jan. 2010- Von Housen Automotive Group was awarded the Sprinter Van franchise at Mercedes-Benz of Rocklin. Known as Sprinter of Rocklin.

July 2010- Von Housen Automotive Group sells Mercedes-Benz of Reno.

June 2011- Von Housen Automotive Group is awarded the Smart Car franchise at Mercedes-Benz of Sacramento known as Smart Center of Sacramento.

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