Dealer Groups

Bitcoin added as form of payment at Bernie Moreno Companies locations

CLEVELAND - 

Bernie Moreno Companies (BMC) is now among a growing list of companies now accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Car buyers who look forward to bringing their business to any BMC dealership can now use Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for vehicle purchases and service payments, the company announced on Tuesday.

“Giving clients more options is essential to great customer service,” BMC founder and president Bernie Moreno said in a news release. “We are thrilled to be able to expand that flexibility to how our clients make payments.”

With locations in Cleveland and Miami, BMC said that it is the first Mercedes-Benz and Porsche dealership in North America to accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies as a payment method.

BMC said that this is a move that embraces the future and illustrates Moreno's backing of the Blockland Cleveland initiative, which is aimed at making the city of , according to its website.

“Moreno is one of the scores of local leaders collaborating on the ambitious Blockland initiative to turn Cleveland into the epicenter of blockchain technology,” the company said.

Meanwhile, during the payment process, BMC said that customers who wish to use cryptocurrency can transfer the electronic cash that they have from their digital wallet to BMC at the current exchange rate.

“Paying with Bitcoin is going to be easier, faster and more secure than using a credit card or check,” Moreno added. “This might not only be a new option for payment, it might end up being the best option.”


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2 factors send Q2 dealership buy/sell activity soaring

IRVINE, Calif. - 

If your franchised dealership sits among a total of eight rooftops within a span shorter than a test drive, experts say that at least one operation — perhaps where you sit now — has gained new ownership during the past four years.

And it appears that buy/sell pace could intensify.

Kerrigan Advisors pointed to a pair of reasons why the number of second-quarter transactions spiked after a slow start to the year.

According to The Blue Sky Report generated by Kerrigan Advisors and released on Wednesday, new tax law and improved economies of scale and scope are among the trends driving a robust buy/sell market.

The report indicated 75 transactions were completed in Q2, a 92-percent increase over Q1. With consolidators and publicly-traded auto retailers seeing increased earnings as a result of these factors, profitability at dealerships holding steady, and dealerships embracing innovative, profit-driving business models, Kerrigan Advisors predicts that 2018 will mark the fifth consecutive year to see more than 200 transactions.  

“We estimate one in eight dealerships have changed hands since 2014 and we believe increasing consolidation means this number will only increase,” said Erin Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors. “Consolidators are leveraging significant opportunities to increase earnings with accretive acquisitions by achieving economies of scale and scope post-transaction.”

Ryan Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, also added, “Consolidators are finding new ways to grow earnings by employing technology and streamlining their business models, changing their selling systems and introducing new products across their platforms, while the ‘to-be-consolidated’ are squeezing more profit out of their existing business models. And both are being positively impacted by reduced taxes as a result of tax reform.”

However, the Kerrigans did note that while blue sky values remained high in Q2, they were below 2017 levels, partly as a result of rising interest rates and floor plan cost increases. 

But, despite a plateauing seasonally adjusted annual sales rate for new-model delivers, The Kerrigan Index, which tracks publicly-traded auto retail companies, continues to rise, indicating that Wall Street believes that scale matters and that anticipated disruptions to auto retail will disproportionately benefit the largest dealership groups.

“There is little doubt that size will be a key driver for future success in auto retail,” Ryan Kerrigan said.

The Blue Sky Report, published by Kerrigan Advisors, is the auto industry's most comprehensive and authoritative quarterly report on dealership M&A activity, as well as franchise values. It includes analysis of all transaction activity for the quarter, and lays out the high, average and low blue sky multiples for each franchise in luxury and non-luxury segments.

Seven other key highlights from the Q2 report include:

• 114 dealership buy/sell transactions were completed in the first half of 2018, compares to 101 transactions in the first half of 2017.

• The number of franchises sold rose 22 percent over the first half of 2017.

• The number of multi-dealership transactions increased to 33 during the first half of 2018, versus 23 in the first half of 2017.

• Domestics maintained their leading position, followed by import non-luxury franchises and import luxury franchises.

• The publics are tracking towards nearly $1 billion of US acquisition spending in 2018, a level that would surpass all prior years, except 2014 when Lithia Motors acquired DCH Auto Group.

• Private dealership groups continue to represent the largest share of dealership acquirers.  Only 22 of the estimated 192 franchises that changed hands in the first half of the year, were acquired by public companies.

• Dealership rents rose as compared to 2017, creating concern: the average dealer now has a rent to gross profit of 11.2 percent, a 3.7-percent rise over the 2017 ratio.

The Q2 report outlines three key trends that Kerrigan Advisors anticipate will have a significant impact on the buy/sell market for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. They include

• Consolidators focus on geographic concentration

• Successful business models command higher blue sky values

• Expense reduction becomes a major consolidation driver

In addition to expense reduction and a focus on geographic concentration, the report emphasized the importance of successful and innovative business models to increased valuations, citing the recent sale of Wilsonville Toyota and Wilsonville Subaru, both of which effectively utilized a no-negotiation sales model, resulting in profitability far higher than industry standards.

“Buyers of dealerships today are students of auto retail.  Most spend their days and nights thinking of ways to enhance their business’ profitability and strategically drive earnings growth,” Erin Kerrigan said.  “Acquisition opportunities that provide an expanding group with new strategies to grow earnings will command a premium in today’s buy/sell market.”

Kerrigan Advisors monitors conditions in the buy/sell market and publishes an in-depth analysis each quarter in The Blue Sky Report, which includes Kerrigan Advisors’ signature blue sky charts, multiples and analysis for each franchise in the luxury and non-luxury segments. To download the entire report, .

The company also releases monthly The Kerrigan Index composed of the seven publicly traded auto retail companies with operations focused on the U.S. market. The Kerrigan Auto Retail Index is designed to track dealership valuation trends, while also providing key insights into factors influencing auto retail. To access The Kerrigan Index, .

Trophy Automotive Dealer Group adds top Kia store to portfolio

IRVINE, Calif. - 

One of Kia’s flagship dealerships has new owners.

Kerrigan Advisors represented and advised Car Pros Automotive Group in its recent sale of Carson Kia — which the firm said is the highest volume Kia dealership in the U.S. since 2016 — to southern California-based Trophy Automotive Dealer Group (TADG).

Opened in 2017, Kerrigan Advisors highlighted that the dealership's new state-of-the-art facility spans 72,000 square feet and is a flagship in OEM’s national distribution network. This transaction marks the fifth dealership that TADG has purchased in southern California in recent years.

“This was a very big decision for our family. While we have no intention of leaving the car business, we felt that selling our large Kia store in Carson made sense, both for our family and for the strategic direction of the group,” said Matthew Phillips, chief executive officer of Car Pros Automotive Group and son of the founder and chairman, Ken Phillips.

In addition to the Carson store, Car Pros Automotive Group comprises six dealerships in northwest Washington and southern California.

The Phillips family has retailed more than 100,000 Kia units in the U.S., more than any other store.

“I opened my first dealership in Des Moines, Wash., in 1984, based on the ideals of honesty and integrity,” founder Ken Phillips said. “As I look back, for the past 35 years, we’ve held true to those standards in everything we’ve done.

“I am proud to say that our recent transaction was handled in the same fashion,” Ken Phillips continued. “Kerrigan Advisors really helped to provide the expertise we needed to transition our Group toward the next phase of Car Pros automotive retail.”

Kerrigan Advisors has represented on the sale of 72 dealerships since July 2015

“I’d like to thank Kerrigan Advisors for smoothly guiding us through this process, with such a high level of professionalism. They truly understand everything a seller goes through and offered sensitivity, a keen understanding of the current (and future) automotive landscape and support every step of the way,” Matthew Phillips said.

Along with turning new metal, the dealership is also among Kia’s top performers .

“Ken and his family are the top Kia retailers in the United States and have been a huge part of that brand’s success on the West Coast — which is also one of the most demanding and cutting-edge automotive markets in the world,” said Ryan Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors. “From the start, in handling this transaction, we focused on that innovative spirit. This is a crown jewel for the KIA brand, and we were proud to be able to offer Carson Kia the representation it deserved.”

Erin Kerrigan, also managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, added, “We were honored to represent the Phillips family on this big transaction.

“This is a landmark dealership in the Kia network, and we have enjoyed working with the Phillips family to develop their game plan for the next leg of their group’s growth,” she went on to say. “We congratulate Trophy Automotive Dealer Group on adding Carson Kia to their portfolio of Southern California dealerships.”

Gus Paras and Bert Rasmussen of Scali Rasmussen served as legal counsel to Car Pros Automotive Group. Aaron Jacoby of Arent Fox served as legal counsel to Trophy Automotive Dealer Group.

AutoNation’s net income rises, aided by sales of off-lease vehicles

DETROIT  - 

AutoNation’s net income from continuing operations rose 11 percent to $97.4 million in its second quarter, aided by its used-vehicle operations, the company reported.

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson credited the record number of “nearly new” off-lease vehicles returning to the market with underpinning used-vehicle sales at AutoNation and other dealership groups.

 “You have 4 million nearly new vehicles coming off lease, a big percentage of which are eligible for extended warranties from the manufacturers through a certified pre-owned program,” Jackson said during AutoNation’s Aug. 1 earnings call with analysts.

“The consumer is coming in, and they have brand new to choose from, nearly new to choose from and pre-owned. This nearly new category is dominated by the franchise dealers. Therefore, we get the first look at this opportunity, and we’re ready for it and have seized it as forecasted several years ago.”

AutoNation USA, the company’s standalone used-vehicle store business, is performing “as expected,” and its “trendline toward profitability is positive,” but the company will wait another quarter before giving a detailed update about its performance, Jackson said.

No additional USA stores this year

“We do not expect to break ground on any additional USA stores this year,” he added.

In the quarter that ended June 30, there were two AutoNation USA stores in the Houston market, one in the Corpus Christi, Texas market and one each in the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets.

For the quarter, AutoNation generated revenue of $5.4 billion, a 2-percent increase over the same period last year.

In the same period, AutoNation’s used unit retail sales increased 3.1 percent to 60,081, and its retail gross profit per used vehicle retailed was up 14.0 percent to $1,448.

Assisted by AutoNation’s one-price strategy and on a same-store basis, used-vehicle gross profit was $87.5 million, up 21.9 percent compared to the year-ago quarter. In the same period, the company’s peers’ same-store average used-vehicle gross profit was up 5 percent, according to AutoNation executive vice president for sales and COO, Lance Iserman, who was also on the call.

AutoNation improved its same-store used unit retail sales by 4.7 percent to 58,542 and generated a gross profit per used vehicle retailed of $1,455.  That is “an increase of $180 or 14 percent, while our peers’ average was down 2 percent compared to the second quarter of 2017,” Iserman said.

‘Significant margin pressure’

As reported by other publicly held dealership groups, AutoNation had “significant margin pressure” on its new-car sales, resulting from “disruptive marketing and sales incentives,” Iserman said.

New vehicles sold at AutoNation’s BMW, Honda and Nissan dealerships accounted for “probably 70 percent” of the margin erosion experienced by the group, and “we expect to see continued pressure for the balance of the year,” Iserman said.

Gross margins on new vehicles sold at AutoNation’s domestic brand dealerships are “basically flat for us, slightly up,” he added.

Jackson said BMW has a “product cycle issue”, and AutoNation should be in a better position when new BMW products are launched next year.

AutoNation’s new unit retail sales on a non-same store basis, decreased 1 percent to 79,054, and its new-vehicle gross profit per vehicle retailed dropped 8.7 percent to $1,579.

Finance and insurance gross profit per vehicle retailed rose 7.5 percent to $1,781.

Growing consumer acceptance of AutoNation’s branded F&I products is helping bolster the company’s F&I gross profits, Jackson said.

“The improvement is primarily driven by more customers choosing to get a product from us rather than us getting more from each customer we already have,” he said.

More with Waymo

During the call, Jackson said AutoNation expanded its relationship with Waymo, a self-driving vehicle technology company. The deal now allows AutoNation customers to get around in Waymo vehicles while their personal vehicles are being serviced at AutoNation dealerships in Phoenix.

Last November, AutoNation announced that it would provide mechanical and cosmetic repairs to maintain Waymo’s self-driving fleet. Waymo is a subsidiary of Alphabet which also owns Google.

Waymo and AutoNation have a “strategic relationship” and AutoNation wants to grow with Waymo wherever it makes sense, Jackson said. But he also cautioned that “as far as profits, well, that’s something down the road.”

“This is at the beginning of a journey, and it’s important for learning and to partner and to go from there. But with the most recent announcement, it says the relationship is working; it’s working well, and I expect it to continue to grow.”

Acquisitions

AutoNation also announced that it:

* Acquired Shelley BMW in Southern California, which is expected to generate approximately $140 million in annual revenue and retail approximately 2,600 new and used vehicles. It is the company’s seventh BMW store in California and its 17th BMW store nationally.

* Signed an agreement to acquire a collision center located in its Dallas market. It is the company’s 81st collision center nationally.

* Is on pace to earn approximately $100 million of incremental gross profit from its branded parts initiative in 2018.

Group 1 acquires 2 Honda stores in Louisiana, Texas

HOUSTON - 

Group 1 Automotive has grown its portfolio of Honda dealerships to 13 in total with the recent purchase of additional Honda dealerships in both Louisiana and Texas.

Group 1 announced Tuesday the acquisition of Honda of Slidell in Slidell, La., and Fernandez Honda in San Antonio.

“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Honda, one of the most powerful automotive brands in the U.S.," Group 1 president and chief executive officer Earl Hesterberg said in a news release. “Additionally, these acquisitions increase our scale in two of our existing markets, which both contain promising growth potential.

“It should also be noted that we intend to continue with our declared share repurchase intentions as we affirmed during our July 26 earnings call and with additional repurchases since that date,” Hesterberg continued.

According to Group 1, its two newly acquired Honda stores are projected to bring in an estimated $125 million in annual revenues. The store's names will remain the same.

In addition to Louisiana and Texas, Group 1 also represents the Honda brand in Florida, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Regarding the share repurchases Hesterberg mentioned, Group 1 has repurchased 189,600 shares since July 26. The average price per common share in those repurchases was $69.91, equaling a total of $13.2 million.

So far this year, Group 1 has repuchased 1.3 million shares, which equals 6.4 percent of the common share count the company had at the beginning of the year.

The average price on those 1.3 million shares repurchased this year is $68.63 per share, which equates to $89.5 million. 

There is $60.2 million left in Group 1's board authorized common stock repurchase program as of Monday. 

“Future repurchases may be made from time to time, based on market conditions, legal requirements and other corporate considerations, in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, and subject to Board approval and covenant restrictions,” the company said in a news release.

Editor's Note: Update to correct announcement date and spelling in headline.

Morgan Auto Group buys 1st Hyundai store, adds another Mitsubishi location

TAMPA, Fla. - 

Morgan Auto Group has expanded its portfolio to a total of 32 dealerships with the addition of two new stores that will be led by Jerry Clark.

The company announced Friday that its newly acquired Brandon Hyundai and Brandon Mitsubishi stores in Tampa, Fla., represent its first and third Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealerships, respectively.

“The Brandon Hyundai and Brandon Mitsubishi acquisitions are exciting on many fronts. They bring an excellent volume brand like Hyundai to our group and extend our presence in a Brandon market where we have always enjoyed doing business,” Morgan Auto chief executive officer Brett Morgan said in a news release.

Furthermore, the Tampa-based dealership group said that Clark who joins the group from Maryland brings more than two decades of leadership experience to his new role as general manager of both stores.

“We are very fortunate to have Jerry Clark join our team ... Jerry started his career in 1983 as a salesperson in Hagerstown, Maryland; and since then, has held virtually every position that a car dealership has to offer, including over 20 years as a general manager.

“This depth of experience provides Jerry with the skill level needed to train our team members to deliver outstanding customer service in both the sales and service operations,” Moore continued.

Additionally, outside of his most recent dealership responsibilities, Clark has also spent time with the Special Olympics organization as a member of the Maryland Special Olympics board of directors, according to Morgan Auto.

“It’s a great honor to take on this new position at Brandon Hyundai and Brandon Mitsubishi,” said Clark. “My number one priority in the coming months as general manager will be to bringing Morgan's signature customer service processes to these stores. We have already begun making minor facility changes that will enhance the overall customer experience and which are representative of our new tagline New Owners, New Attitude,” he said.

Along with the newly acquired Hyundai and Mitsubishi dealerships, Morgan Auto now has eight other dealerships, representing the Honda, Toyota, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM and MINI brands. 

Sonic’s EchoPark stores ‘profitable,’ but new-vehicle margins suffer

DETROIT  - 

Sonic Automotive’s EchoPark stand-alone, used-vehicle stores were “profitable as a group” in June, Sonic executive vice president of operations, Jeff Dyke, said during the company’s second quarter earnings call on July 27.

Dyke said EchoPark’s seven stores made more than $1 million in June and were tracking to exceed that amount in July.

The company expects its EchoPark operations to generate about $15 million in profits next year.

It plans to open one EchoPark store each in its Houston and Charlotte, N.C., markets during the fourth quarter and two additional stores by the end of 2019.

As of the quarter that ended June 30, Sonic operated three EchoPark stores in its Denver market, one in its Colorado Springs, Colo., market, two in its San Antonio, Texas, market and one in its Dallas market.

“I’m most proud of the topline revenue growth experienced in our EchoPark stores as we continue to open new stores, and our ramp up period is shortening and volumes are building at a more rapid rate,” said Sonic president Scott Smith, who was also on the call.

EchoPark’s retail sales of 7,459 units in the quarter were more than triple its unit sales in the second quarter of 2017, the company said. EchoPark stores generated $180.2 million in revenue, which was also more than triple its revenue in the year-ago quarter.

“Sequentially on a quarterly basis, EchoPark revenue grew 37 percent compared to (first quarter) 2018,” Smith said. “We will continue pushing EchoPark topline growth as we build up this brand in the markets we enter.”

Sonic’s overall used-vehicle retail sales grew 17.2 percent to 35,779 units in the quarter, and overall used-vehicle revenue rose 18.8 percent to $762.6 million.

Margin erosion hurts gross profits

Sonic’s EchoPark operations was a bright spot amid disappointing new-vehicle margin erosion at the dealership group’s BMW and Honda dealerships.

Its same store, new-vehicle revenue in the quarter grew 1.6 percent, driven by higher average selling prices, but gross profits dropped 6.3 percent because of lower margins.

“The margin that we’re getting squeezed on the most is coming from the lack of factory-to-dealer incentives,” said Smith.

Honda’s redesigned 2018 Accord was a problem, Dyke said.

Margins on Accords in the quarter dropped $250 to $300 per vehicle costing Sonic’s Honda stores about $1 million a month, Dyke said. Incentives on the Accord were $1,200 to $2,000 less than they were in the year-ago quarter, he added.

BMW vehicles have incentives, but “the mix of the dollars and how they are arriving at the store cost us in the quarter about $575 to $600,” per vehicle, Dyke added.

Together, BMW and Honda represent 30 percent of Sonic’s store mix and 40 percent of its profits. Dyke expects margins for both brands in the third quarter to be “difficult.”

Sonic’s overall net income increased 39 percent to $16.9 million in the quarter, and its overall gross profits inched up 0.5 percent to $362.4 million. Sonic’s second quarter revenues rose 4.2 percent to $2.5 billion.

Sonic said it will open a Land Rover dealership in Atlanta later this year.

Used-car business good at PAG

Penske Automotive Group also experienced margin erosion at its BMW and Honda stores in its quarter that ended June 30, said chairman Roger Penske during the company’s quarterly earnings call on July 26.

The company’s total retail automotive gross margins dipped to 14.6 percent from 14.8 percent in 2017.

Penske said new-vehicle business at the company’s BMW dealerships in the U.S was flat in the quarter, but it’s used-vehicle sales were up 10 percent.

He said the company has over 2,000 loaner vehicles at its BMW dealerships which provides the group with “young” used vehicles that can be sold “without any reconditioning to speak of.”

“This has become a very good product for us, and that’s driven this 1.65-to-1 used-to-new (ratio),” he said. “From our perspective, overall our used-car business, our BMW business, was good in the second quarter.”

Business at Penske Automotive’s Honda stores was flat in the quarter, Penske said. The company’s Honda new-vehicle margins fell “about 9 percent,” and the brand’s used-vehicle margins increased “about 0.25 percent,” he said.

“There really hasn’t been a lot of (incentive) support on the new Accord.”

Used-car superstores

Penske Automotive’s overall net income increased 26.5 percent to $135.2 million in the quarter on revenues that rose 10.3 percent to $5.9 billion. Overall gross profits rose 8.9 percent to $889.8 million.

The company operates five stand-alone, used-car superstores in the U.S. and nine in the United Kingdom.

In the quarter, those used-vehicle superstores retailed 18,832 units and generated $346.7 million in revenue, Penske said. This year, those used-vehicle stores are expected to retail nearly 70,000 units and generate approximately $1.2 billion in revenue.

Penske Automotive’s retail automotive business operates 341 new-vehicle franchises internationally; 151 are located in the U.S.

Its retail automotive business, which includes its used-vehicle superstores, generated $5.5 billion in total revenue, up 8.2 percent year-over-year. Total gross profits for retail automotive were up 7 percent to $798.0 million.

The company’ new-unit retail sales dropped 4.5 percent to 61,071 in the quarter, and its used-unit retail sales of 73,134 were up 10.5 percent.

Lithia works with Pro Bowl QB for youth mentorship program

CARY, N.C.  - 

Russell Wilson’s nimble, fleet-footed quarterbacking of the Seattle Seahawks has earned him legions of fans through the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

And a new partnership with Lithia Motors is likely to earn him a few more.

The dealership group that it will be teaming with the all-pro quarterback to help aid a program that mentors youth in Oregon.

“We're thrilled to announce a new partnership with Russell Wilson to support long-term mentorship for Portland youth,” Lithia said in the tweet. “Over the next 9 months, our Drive for Kids campaign will raise money for Friends of the Children — Portland.”

More specifically, the retailer’s Lithia for Kids community impact foundation , where Lithia will donate to Friends of the Children any time a vehicle is sold or serviced at its Mercedes-Benz of Portland or Mercedes-Benz of Beaverton. Donations can also be made at Lithia.com.

According to its website, the mission for is “to provide our most vulnerable children a nurturing and sustained relationship with a professional mentor who teaches positive values and has attainable expectations for each child to become a healthy, productive member of the community.”

More information can be found at

Full disclosure: The author of this story is a long-suffering fan of N.C. State, where Wilson played the majority of his college football career. 

Strong Group 1 Q2 performance fueled by focus on used vehicles

HOUSTON - 

Group 1 Automotive today announced its positive results for the second quarter were due in part to a company-wide focus on used vehicles and “strong cost control.”

The focus on pre-owned paid off for the dealer group in Q2, as it retailed 28,484 used vehicles, up from 25,202 sold during Q2 2017. Retail used-vehicle revenue was on the up, as well, rising by a significant 19.8 percent on what was already 18.8 percent higher unit sales. Retail used vehicle gross profit moved up 14 percent to $51.2 million, while total used-vehicle gross profit was up by 15.2 percent. Group 1 leaders shared the performance was due part to the Val-u-Line initiative it recently launched in the U.S., which saw used retail unit sales spike by 11 percent, with units growing to 10 percent of the overall mix.

"We delivered a solid quarter, reflecting a relatively strong U.S. vehicle market in June, favorable overall performance in the U.K., a corporate-wide focus on our used vehicle business, and a major cost reduction initiative in both the U.S. and the U.K. early this year that began to pay dividends this quarter," Earl Hesterberg, Group 1's president and chief executive officer, said.  

"These results demonstrate our ability to grow earnings in a flat retail sales environment. In addition, during the quarter, the company has launched a renewed focus on capital deployment, with an emphasis on actions, such as disposal of underperforming assets, more stringent control of capital expenditures, and enhanced share repurchases, targeted at delivering improved shareholder value. Actions taken this quarter include the disposal of a large underperforming dealership and a stepped-up pace of share repurchases,” he continued.

Group 1 reported a second-quarter net income of $56.5 million, and adjusted net income of $50.8 million. Total revenue for the dealer group was up by 10.2 percent year-over-year, coming in at $2.9 billion, while total gross profit grew by 8.2 percent from the second quarter of 2017 to site at $438.2 million.

The company’s parts and service business was on the up and up in Q2, as well, with gross profit increasing by 9.1 percent on review growth of 8 percent year-over-year.

Taking a look at the company’s performance in the U.S. specifically, Group 1’s in-country operations accounted for 73.7 percent of total revenues and 80 percent of total gross profit. Total U.S. revenues came in at $2.2 billion, an increase of 2.1 percent, which Group 1 leadership once again said was driven by increases in used retail sales (up 10.4 percent). 

"We were pleased with our used car performance and cost control in the U.S. in the second quarter. Same-store used vehicle retail unit sales were up 11 percent, and total used vehicle gross profit increased six percent,” said Daryl Kenningham, Group 1's president of U.S. operations. 

"Total same-store gross profit increased one percent, which when coupled with strong cost control, evidenced by adjusted SG&A leverage of 110 basis points, drove improved bottom-line results. Same-store adjusted operating income increased five percent and adjusted operating margin improved 20 basis points to 4.2 percent," Kenningham said.

HGreg.com to enter Orlando market; looks to fill up to 85 positions

ORLANDO, Fla. - 

HGreg.com, part of HGregoire, a network of 22 new and pre-owned car dealerships, is entering the Orlando, Fla., market. 

Later this summer, HGreg.com will be opening its fifth store in the Sunshine State. The location, at 2510 Jetport Drive, is just one mile west of the Orlando International Airport. The new store will offer buyers inventory at wholesale prices, according to HGreg.com. 

The company also owns and operates used dealerships in Doral, Westpark and North Miami, Florida, as well as a boutique car dealership for luxury vehicles, HGreg LUX, in Pompano.

“Central Florida has been on our minds for quite some time,” says Chase Sattler, vice president of operations at . “We’re big fans of the Orlando market and are very optimistic about our future in the region.”

HGreg.com hit the Florida dealership scene in 2010. Its new Orlando location will be built on 15.55 acres, and will feature a 16,000 square-foot office and service center as well as a 16-bay maintenance facility. 

The showroom will be able to house 2,000 pre-owned vehicles. 

Also of note, the company is looking to hire up to 85 personnel for full- and part-time positions at its new Orlando location. A job fair will be held on Aug. 4 at the new Orlando store. 

“We’re not your typical car dealership,” says Sattler. “Not only have we embraced technology early on as a way of connecting with our customers, but we have also expanded our inventory at unbeatable prices. We’re confident that car buyers in and around the Orlando area will appreciate our user experience, and find it easy to get the car of their dreams at an affordable cost.”

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