Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S3

Opportunity knocked for some used retailers

U

David Muller

dmuller@crain.com

sed-auto retailers faced unprecedented
events in 2020 as the coronavirus
pandemic unfolded, but some things
remained constant.
For one, digital newcomers continued to
gain ground in used-vehicle sales volume.
And many lessons learned from past market
downturns still applied even amid the
pandemic.
That was all reflected in Automotive News'
annual ranking of the top 100 used-vehicle
retailers for 2020.
The top 100 saw some shuffling among the
top five spots - CarMax maintained the No. 1
spot, but online upstart Carvana Co. climbed
to No. 2 from No. 4 for 2019. Carvana, formed
in 2012, first entered the list at No. 8 for 2018.
" Year after year we've shown that delivering
exceptional customer experiences, giving car
buyers a process that's easy, transparent and
convenient, drives growth, " Carvana CEO
Ernie Garcia said in statement. " We're so
proud of Team Carvana for reaching this
milestone - accomplishing in just eight years
what has historically taken decades. "
Carvana retailed 244,111 used vehicles last
year, still well behind CarMax's 832,640 but
leaping past AutoNation Inc. and Penske
Automotive Group Inc. AutoNation remained
at No. 3 with retail sales of 241,182 used
vehicles. Penske dropped from No. 2 to No. 4
with retail sales of 233,469 used vehicles.
The rest of the top 10 remained the same as
in 2020 with Lithia Motors Inc., Sonic
Automotive Inc., Group 1 Automotive Inc.,
Hendrick Automotive Group, Asbury
Automotive Group and Larry H. Miller
Dealerships rounding out the rest of the spots,
in that order.
Among other digital upstarts, Vroom
climbed two spots to No. 14, while Shift
Technologies Inc. edged up four spots to No.
89.
The traditional dealership groups on the list
boasted some big movers. Acquisitions
helped some groups that made substantial
climbs - but some also capitalized on
opportunities presented in 2020's chaotic

Top 100 Dealership Groups-Used-2021-FINAL.indd 3

Largest gainers

Here are the 10 retailers that made the biggest leap on Automotive News' list of the top
100 used-vehicle retailers ranked by 2020 used-retail sales.
2020 RANK

2019 RANK

CHANGE IN RANKING

1 Kunes Country Auto Group

54

77

23

2 Keating Auto Group

59

81

22

3 Feldman Automotive Group

57

78

21

4 Cavender Auto Family

69

87

18

5 RFJ Auto Partners Holdings

20

36

16

6 Zeigler Auto Group

32

42

10

6 Ed Morse Automotive Group

90

100

10

8 Ganley Auto Group

23

32

9

8 Mullinax Automotive

44

53

9

8 Fitzgerald Auto Malls

64

73

9

Source: Automotive News Research & Data Center

Ganley Auto Group CEO Ken Ganley said
restructuring its used-vehicle operations,
centralizing auto wholesaling and adding
stores helped the group grow last year.

spring selling season.
Wisconsin-based Kunes Country Auto
Group made the list's biggest leap, jumping 23
spots to No. 54.
COO Scott Kunes said past downturns such
as the Great Recession helped inform
decision-making last spring when usedvehicle sales and prices crashed as the
pandemic emerged.
" We were able to kind of recognize that we
were in a good position to purchase
inventory, " Kunes said.
That put the group in a good position to

capitalize on the upturn in business that soon
followed. Sales and prices began to climb
steadily in May, and the used-vehicle market
remained hot throughout the summer.
The Kunes group was in good shape in other
ways. It underwent a restructuring in 2019
that better positioned existing stores, Scott
Kunes said, and it also allowed the group to
acquire and acclimate new dealerships
quickly. Kunes acquired four stores last year.
Another big mover was Michigan-based
Zeigler Auto Group, which climbed 10 spots to
No. 32. Zeigler also grasped opportunity in a
temporarily depressed market.
When the pandemic brought sales
operations to a halt last spring, especially at its
Michigan stores, group President Aaron
Zeigler said the retailer essentially turned its
otherwise idle salespeople into car buyers.
" We went out and bought every used car we
could - literally thousands and thousands of
used cars from all over the country, " Zeigler
said. " We bought from auctions; we bought
from other dealers. "
That paid off when sales picked back up and
is still helping given the low new-vehicle
inventory levels in the industry, he said.
Zeigler also bought three dealerships in

early 2020 - Infiniti, Jaguar-Land Rover and
Mercedes-Benz stores in Illinois. While those
additions helped sales growth, " the main
driver was our sales per store were up
substantially, " he said.
Restructuring its used-vehicle operations
paid off for Ohio-based Ganley Auto Group,
which climbed nine spots to No. 23.
Ganley added six stores in 2020, including
large-volume Chevrolet and Kia dealerships.
Most of the acquisitions happened in early
2020, thus contributing to the group's growth
in sales.
Centralizing vehicle wholesaling was also
key, CEO Ken Ganley said.
" We're trying to keep more and more of our
vehicles in-house, " Ganley said. " And that has
also played a nice role in our growth where
maybe certain vehicles one, two years ago we
would have wholesaled. ... Now we're strategically moving them within the company and
turning those into retail deals instead of wholesale. "
The approach is paying off.
Said Ganley: " With used cars being so scarce
right now, being able to keep everything
possible is something we look to do every
single day. " a

4/19/21 3:26 PM



Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales

Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - SIntro
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S1
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S2
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S3
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S4
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S5
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S6
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S7
Top 100 Retailers based on Used Vehicle Sales - S8
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