Car-Mart, Group 1 Each Open or Acquire New Dealership

BENTONVILLE, Ark., and HOUSTON -- America's Car-Mart recently announced the opening of its newest location in Cullman, Ala., while Group 1 Automotive said it has acquired Performance Nissan, located near Los Angeles in Duarte, Calif.

Car-Mart's executives said the newest location represents the fourth dealership opening since the company's current fiscal year began May 1. The company now owns 89 stores.

"This will be our third dealership to open in the state of Alabama," said T.J. "Skip" Falgout III, chairman and chief executive officer of Car-Mart. "We are very excited about this location and the two other Alabama dealerships that recently opened in Tuscaloosa and Muscle Shoals. Alabama has proven to be a strong market for Car-Mart, and we eagerly anticipate further expansion within the state."

William "Hank" Henderson, president of Car-Mart, added, "This location in Cullman offers a great opportunity for Car-Mart. Doug Latham, our new manager in Cullman, has successfully completed our management training program, and we are excited to promote him into this position."

As for Group 1, executives said their latest acquisition is one of the highest volume Nissan dealerships in the country, ranking 14th for the first six months this year for the automaker's sales. The store is expected to generate $135.6 million in estimated annual revenues.

Performance Nissan is the company's second Nissan franchise in the Los Angeles area.

"We are excited to add a Nissan franchise of this caliber to our California region," said Earl Hesterberg, Group 1's president and CEO. "Nissan offers a dynamic line of products that complements our growing import brand mix."

The company also announced it purchased a Buick franchise in Oklahoma City, which will be operated out of Group 1's existing Bob Howard Pontiac-GMC dealership. The company also said it sold its Buick franchise in Tulsa, Okla., so that it could be added into an existing Pontiac-GMC dealership in the area.

Executives explained that the recent Oklahoma transactions were completed in association with General Motors' channeling initiative to consolidate the Pontiac, Buick and GMC brands. The Tulsa franchise generated trailing 12-month revenues of $3.4 million, and the newly acquired franchise in Oklahoma City is expected to generate $4 million in estimated annual revenues, according to company executives.

Year-to-date, Group 1 said it has acquired seven franchises with total estimated annual revenues of $403.2 million toward its $500 million full-year target. Additionally, executives said they disposed of 13 franchises with trailing 12-month revenues of $197.8 million, exceeding its full-year target of $195 million. The company said it does not expect to make any more material dispositions during the rest of 2006.

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