Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S3

Prime jumps into top 15 in annual ranking

W

James B. Treece
jtreece@crain.com

estwood, Mass.-based Prime Automotive Group
bounded into the top 15 on Automotive News'
annual Top 150 Dealership Groups list, which
ranks dealership groups based in the U.S. by
new-vehicle retail sales. That was one of several revisions in the
rankings due to ownership changes amid an active buy-sell
market in 2017.
Prime surged 53 rungs, to No. 13, as its new-vehicle retail sales
more than tripled to 46,163 from 13,853 a year earlier. The group's
store count also increased more than that of any other group on
the list, to 57 from 28, largely because of a
change in the company's structure.
In October, Abrams Capital, a private-equity firm that had first invested in Prime
Motor Group 11 years earlier, cashed out. It
sold a majority stake in the group to GPB
Capital, a New York asset-management
company, which already had majority
stakes in dealerships selling 24 brands in 10
Rosenberg: Eyes states. David Rosenberg retained a minoristrategic growth ty stake and remains CEO of the renamed
Prime Automotive.
With its new rooftop count of 57, Prime ranks 10th in total
number of dealerships, behind Herb Chambers Cos., of
Somerville, Mass., with 58.
In the past two months, Rosenberg has hired a CFO, vice
president of corporate development and vice president of finance and insurance. His newly hired COO is Marty Collins,
the former western regional vice president for Group 1 Automotive Inc. and former president of Gulf States Toyota.
That team will devise a strategy to grow Prime Automotive
through acquisitions and other auto retail investments, Rosenberg said. "Our goal is to grow strategically. We'll go into a market and buy a group and then add individual dealerships to it."

Buy-sell growth
After Prime, the largest increases in dealership count were at
public dealership groups Lithia Motors Inc., of Medford, Ore.,
which added 15 stores, and Group 1, of Houston, which added 14.
Both companies have been active players in the buy-sell market,
expanding their geographic footprint as well as their store count.
Next were Fletcher Auto Group, of North Little Rock, Ark.,
and Price Simms Auto Group, of Larkspur, Calif., each adding
11. David Wilson Automotive Group, of Orange, Calif., rounded
out the dealership groups with double-digit store growth, with
10. The dealership counts for Group 1 and David Wilson include stores outside of the U.S.
Last year saw 202 dealership buy-sell transactions, including

some very large ones, chose
not to participate. For example,
Terry Taylor's extensive group
of dealerships, for which his
Automotive Management Services Inc., of West Palm Beach,
Fla., provides support, didn't
respond to the survey. Neither
did Berkshire Hathaway Automotive.
Several large groups on last
year's list disappeared from
this year's list because they
have been acquired.
Lithia, for instance, bought
Shammas Automotive Group,
of Los Angeles, which was No.
55 last year, as well as Day Automotive Group, of Monroeville, Penn., which was No.
128 last year.
This year's No. 70, Gee AutoPrime Automotive Group vaulted 53 spots to No. 13. Shown is Prime Ford in Saco, Maine.
motive Cos., of Liberty Lake,
Wash., acquired 16 stores owned by the Ron Tonkin Family of
Dealerships. Ron Tonkin was No. 88 on last year's list. Gee's daa large number of multiple-store deals, down from 221 in 2016
ta came in too late last year for it to make the list.
and a record 240 in 2015, according to The Banks Report and
In addition, this year the following retailers told the Automoanalysis by Kerrigan Advisors.
tive News Data Center that they would pass on responding: the
The only change in the top 10 came as Larry H. Miller DealerCAR Group, of Newport Beach, Calif., which ranked No. 18 last
ships, of Sandy, Utah, nudged ahead of Staluppi Auto Group, of
year; Lester Glenn Auto Group, of Toms River, N.J., which
North Palm Beach, Fla., to claim the No. 9 spot.
ranked No. 108; Perry Automotive Group, of Poway, Calif.,
Larry H. Miller Dealerships' retail new-vehicle sales rose 7.7
which ranked No. 129; and Selma Auto Mall, of Selma, Calif.,
percent to 68,694, while Staluppi Auto Group's fell 5.0 percent
which ranked No. 146.
to 64,353. Industrywide U.S. light-vehicle sales fell 1.8 percent
Galpin Motors Inc., of North Hills, Calif., jumped to No. 1 in
last year.
terms of new retail units sold per dealership, with 3,487 units. It
Ten dealership groups climbed 10 or more rungs in the latest
was No. 4 in that ranking last year. Last year's No. 1 in that cateranking, while seven fell 10 spots or more.
gory, David Wilson Automotive Group, slipped to No. 3, with
The steepest drop was by Gillman Cos. The Houston dealer2,775, down from 6,701 a year earlier, as the group's dealership
ship group dropped 20 rungs to No. 73, as its retail new-vehicle
count jumped to 17 from seven.
sales fell 24 percent to 13,691, reflecting in part a drop in its
Piercey Automotive Group, of Irvine, Calif., was No. 2 this
dealership count to 10 from 14 a year earlier.
year, with 3,182 new vehicles retailed per dealership, up from
No. 14 Suburban Collection, of Troy, Mich., shed seven stores
No. 3 last year, when it had 3,657. World Class Automotive
from a year earlier, the largest sell-off of any group on the list,
Group, of Addison, Texas, was No. 4, with 2,482 new vehicles
bringing its store count to 42. No. 6 Hendrick Automotive
retailed per dealership, surging from No. 17 last year, with 1,870
Group, of Charlotte, N.C., shed five dealerships, leaving it with
units.
98. Of the groups that made this year's list and last year's, 26
The number of dealership groups with total revenue that
trimmed their store count and 48 added dealerships.
qualified them for the Billion Dollar Club rose to 61 from 59 a
year earlier. The club had only 34 members five years ago.
No shows
The rankings are based on a survey by the Automotive News
Jamie LaReau contributed to this report.
Data Center. As always, some dealership groups, including



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups

Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - Intro
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S1
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S2
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S3
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S4
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S5
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S6
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S7
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S8
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S9
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S10
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S11
Guide to Top 150 Dealership Groups - S12
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