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Northwest Indiana landed the state's second Jaguar Land Rover dealership, the only one between Indianapolis and Grand Rapids and between Chicago and Cleveland.

South Shore Jaguar Land Rover recently opened at 5781 U.S. 30 in Schererville, selling the same Range Rover that's driven by the Queen of England. The new high-end luxury car dealership plans to celebrate a grand opening in style Wednesday with dignitaries, the unveiling of a new South Shore poster, and a performance by MonoSoul, the jam band fronted by MonoSol CEO Scott Bening, the new dealership's first customer.

Joe Serra, president of Serra Automotive, and Kirk Cordill, dealer principal of BMW of Schererville, developed the new dealership on a 5-acre site on U.S. 30, which includes a 30,000-square-foot showroom and service center, and that cost $5 million to build. The dealership employs about 25 people and sells multiple new 2019 and 2020 Land Rover models, including the Discovery, the Discovery Sport, the Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport, the Evoque, the Evoque Convertible and the Velar. It also offers new Jaguars and a variety of used cars, pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

"We are extremely excited to open the second Jaguar Land Rover dealership in the state, with the only other one in Indianapolis," Cordill said. "People were excited about Whole Foods coming to Schererville, but there are four Whole Foods in the state and this is even more exclusive. It says a lot for the economic development of this area."

Serra hired Cordill out of Hillsdale College in 1992 and served as his boss and mentor before becoming his business partner. Cordill, a Mishawaka native with an MBA from Notre Dame, served as a senior executive for the BMW Group for 20 years, including 11 years abroad.

"Cars are really my passion," he said. "It's nice to be able to combine a passion with a profession."

He returned home to the Midwest in 2015 to join Fenton, Michigan-based Serra Automotive group, a network of 42 dealerships representing 55 automotive franchises that employs more than 2,000 people in seven states. Cordill has run BMW of Schererville at 1400 U.S. 41 for the last four years.

"The manufacturers approached us about the new dealership," he said. "They liked this area because of the growth in population and wealth."

Cordill and Serra lobbied for permission to use the South Shore brand name to stress the dealership's potential to serve customers across Northwest Indiana, in south suburban Chicago in Illinois and in Southwest Michigan.

"Given the geographical reach we will have with these brands Joe and I felt the name was a natural fit," he said. "We are delighted to combine the marquee brands of Jaguar and Land Rover with the local flavor of the South Shore name. Public reaction so far suggests it may be a hit."

The dealership opened three weeks ago with 80 new vehicles on the lot and a goal to sell at least 250 new vehicles per year. It's been well-received thus far.

"Sales so far have surpassed our expectations," Cordill said. "Both Jaguar and Land Rover are at high price points, but there's also entry-level models, certified pre-owned vehicles, for both brands. We've also got used cars. There's something for everyone, whether your budget is $10,000 or $110,000."

The BMW of Schererville serves a wide variety of demographics and draws customers from a wide geographic area.

"It's extremely diverse," Cordill said. "We get traffic from a lot of different areas: from Gary, Lowell and Crown Point. Probably 40% to 50% of our traffic comes from Illinois."

To celebrate the grand opening, the new dealership will release the "Roving the Region" South Shore poster that pays homage to the Charley Finley Farm in LaPorte, where Oakland Athletics owner Charley Finley had the A's logo painted so it was visible to passing traffic on the Indiana Toll Road. Cordill has fond memories of driving by as a kid and thought the landmark evoked the enjoyment of driving around the Region.

Artist Mitch Markovitz replaced the A's logo with South Shore Jaguar Land Rover. He'll be on hand to sign copies of the poster at the grand opening from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday.

For more information, visit www.landroversouthshore.com or call 844-228-6818.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.