AutoNation to Buy 16 Stores

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sun Sentinel/TNS) -

AutoNation is buying 16 stores, in a deal that will increase its sales by more than $600 million per year.

The purchase will be the biggest in terms of revenue since 2001 for the Fort Lauderdale chain, which already ranks as the country’s largest vehicle retailer.

AutoNation said that it has signed agreements to buy 13 stores in Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee from Carl Gregory Enterprises, and three stores in the Baltimore area from Valley Motors Auto Group. The acquisitions are expected to be completed this year, a news release said.

The purchases from Carl Gregory Enterprises include franchises for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat, Ford, Lincoln, Honda, Hyundai and Volkswagen. Last year, those stores retailed about 16,750 new and used vehicles, and they had revenues of about $480 million, AutoNation executives said.

The purchases from Valley Motors Auto Group feature Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru and Volkswagen franchises. Last year, those stores retailed about 2,900 new and used vehicles, and they had revenues of about $129 million, AutoNation said.

Once the purchases are completed, AutoNation will boost its franchise count to 327 and its store count to 253, executives said. Some stores carry multiple brands of new-vehicle franchises under the same roof.

“We continue to seek acquisitions to leverage our scale, expand the AutoNation brand and provide a peerless experience to more customers,” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson said in the news release.

AutoNation has been growing both through acquisitions and by agreements with manufacturers to add more points of sale. It has been working to fill in brands and areas in the markets where it operates in 15 states.

For the second quarter this year, AutoNation reported net income of $115 million on $5.2 billion in revenues. The company said it had 19 straight quarters of double-digit gains in earnings per share from continuing operations.