Central Valley Automotive

4130 - 4700 N. McHenry Ave.
Directions Modesto, CA 95356

  • Employment: (209) 526-3300


  • Monday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Tuesday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Wednesday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Thursday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Friday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Saturday 8:00am - 8:00pm
  • Sunday 9:00am - 7:00pm
Central Valley Automotive Group

Company History

Central Valley Automotive was built on the American Dream. Founder William Gardner, a former child actor, began his auto sales career with Kelley Kar Co. in Los Angeles, the creator of the famous Kelley Blue Book car value guide. 

In 1973, Gardner made his grab for the golden ring. He moved his wife and three children from Fresno to Modesto for the chance to own a new car dealership. In a partnership with and financed by Chrysler, Gardner bet his life savings on Central Valley Chrysler-Plymouth, a small struggling dealership in the heart of downtown Modesto. Gardner tirelessly worked to turn around the small dealership. He could be found at his dealership doing anything and everything - from selling cars to sweeping the floors. 

Through hard work and the fundamental business principle: "Customers' needs always come first," he directed the dealership to its first of numerous "Chrysler Five Star Dealer Awards" in 1974. Gardner's award-winning practices and a growing reputation for outstanding customer service allowed him to buy-out Chrysler's interest in the dealership in record time. 

In the early 1980s, Gardner was farsighted in forecasting the impact of import cars on the U.S. market. He believed offering customers the choice of both domestic and imported cars would expand the business and secure the future dealership. In addition, Gardner was confident the proven and successful business model he had developed also could be applied to an import franchise. 

In 1982, Central Valley purchased the Modesto Volkswagen franchise. The success of offering domestic and imported cars propelled the construction of a state-of-art 36,000-square-foot dealership-the first to anchor "Modesto's Auto Row" on McHenry Avenue in 1987. 

It has maintained and grown its McHenry Avenue sales leadership with the timely acquisitions of additional franchises:

1988 - Isuzu
1988 - Nissan
1999 - Jeep
1999 - Sold Isuzu
2006 - Infiniti
2008 - Dodge/Hyundai

An all-new, freestanding Nissan dealership was built next to Central Valley Automotive in 1993. The Nissan dealership was remodeled and the facility size doubled in 2006. In 2008, Central Valley Automotive acquired the freestanding Dodge Hyundai dealership adjacent to Central Valley Nissan. In 2010, the dealerships were realigned and Volkswagen moved in with Hyundai at the previous Dodge Hyundai location. In May 2011, a multimillion dollar renovation was completed to form a state of the art dual Volkswagen Hyundai site. 

Bill Gardner, a presence and influence at Central Valley Automotive until passing away in 2004, left his legacy in good hands. Leading by example, he passed his work ethic to his son John Gardner and son-in-law Tim McSherry. Tim McSherry served as Operations Manager/Owner Partner from 1976-1997 pushing the automotive group to the next level of elegance. Tim tragically died after a long illness in 1997, and is greatly missed. 

We use cookies and browser activity to improve your experience, personalize content and ads, and analyze how our sites are used. For more information on how we collect and use this information, please review our Privacy Policy. California consumers may exercise their CCPA rights here.