Kunes Auto & RV Group is going all in on vehicle service.

The Wisconsin-based dealership group, which operates more than 45 locations in the Midwest, has joined other Wisconsin Ford dealers in contributing $1 million toward the training of future automotive technicians through the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association Foundation.

Kunes is an active member in WATDA: CEO Gregg Kunes is a member of the WATDA board and many Kunes service technicians work directly with the foundation by offering training and mentorship.

One of Kunes’ techs — Russ Kellom, a service technician at Kunes Buick GMC of Stoughton (Wisc.) — was recently honored by General Motors with the designation of World Class GM Technician. To achieve that status, Kellom received extensive training in everything from engine repair to brakes to heating systems and aced his final exam in Dallas.

“We’re proud of Russ for achieving this gold medal of automotive service and are excited to offer his expertise to the Stoughton community,” Gregg Kunes said. “His commitment to continue growing in an ever-changing field keeps Kunes ahead of the curve.”

The dealer group is also offering first aid training to employees after one of its technicians, Christopher “Ty” Downing, suffered a fatal heart attack on the job last fall. Kunes has since installed AED defibrillators at all stores to honor Downing.

“While it’s unclear whether the presence of defibrillators would have saved Ty’s life, we want to equip our employees with the training and supplies they might need should a similar situation arise,” chief operating officer Scott Kunes said. “We hope Ty’s family will see this as something positive that came from their terrible loss.”

Kunes added that Downing’s colleagues responded quickly and did all the right things, calling 911 and offering CPR.

Firelands adds to its Ohio holdings

Firelands Auto Group, headed by Patrick O’Brien, has acquired two dealerships in Wooster, Ohio, from Dave Hill, according to Tim Lamb of Tim Lamb Group, which brokered the sale.

With the addition of Toyota of Wooster and Volkswagen of Wooster — now known as Firelands Toyota of Wooster and Firelands Volkswagen of Wooster — the Sandusky, Ohio-based dealership group now operates seven stores in the state, as well as a collision center.

The sale also includes an off-site body shop that will undergo renovations and be converted to additional service stalls and lifts. In all, the acquisitions cover three separate buildings and 26,000 square feet of facility space on three acres of land.

Hill, who acquired the dealerships in 2011, continues to operate a used vehicle dealership in Wadsworth, Ohio.