By Andrew Ganz
Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 @ 1:13 pm
 
One of the country's most recognizable new car showrooms has finished its transition from Chevrolet to Nissan and Infiniti.

The former Ellis Brooks Chevrolet building at 1395 Van Ness in downtown San Francisco, once known for its distinctive "See Ellis Brooks today for your Chevrolet" jingle and its eight-story, circa-1935 construction, now houses a Nissan and Infiniti dealer operated by Penske Automotive Group.

Still visible on Google Maps, Ellis Brooks' prominent sign was dismantled last summer, but the dealership stopped selling new Chevrolets in late 2008. At the time, the dealership's general manager didn't hold back when he said of then-General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner: "[He] needs to be removed. He's destroying America's greatest company."

Like other Detroit brands, Chevrolet saw dramatic market share declines in California - particularly in the Bay Area - beginning in the 1960s when European and Asian automakers began ramping up. For decades, San Francisco has been Detroit's arch enemy, at least in terms of domestic car sales. Currently, not a single domestic automaker has a dealership within the San Fransico city limits.


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Today, Ellis Brooks operates a used car showroom not far away, while Nissan and Infiniti of San Francisco occupy the refurbished former Chevrolet building. Nissan says that the renovation included creating "distinct representation" for both the mainstream Nissan and upmarket Infiniti brands. As a de facto flagship showroom, it features multiple levels of vehicle displays as well as a full service facility.