|2021 was the year of the buy-sell|
In March 2021, Automotive News, sensing a desire from our audience, decided to make a change and bulk up our coverage of new-vehicle dealership mergers and acquisitions, known colloquially as buy-sells.
For Automotive News, that meant more editorial resources devoted to the effort. Namely myself, as a reporter, and my colleague Melissa Burden, as a hybrid reporter-editor.
For our readers, it meant more coverage of buy-sell transactions. Lots more.
To be sure, Automotive News had covered buy-sells in the past, typically when one of the publicly traded dealership groups or a well-known private group or dealer decided to buy a store.
But this was different.
We started writing individual stories on transactions as they happened. It didn’t matter where in the country a deal took place or how many rooftops were involved.
We collected data on deals (more on that in a minute) submitted by dealers, buy-sell brokers and others, and we hunted down details on other transactions found in company regulatory filings, local news reports and social media posts.
Barely a month after deciding to focus more on buy-sells, one of the biggest dealership acquisitions in history happened. Lithia Motors bought the Suburban Collection, one of the largest private dealership groups in the country.
It was a harbinger for the year.
By May, it was clear that the pace of transactions was speeding up. To address it, we began compiling roundup stories with details on multiple deals, which kept coming.
The megadeals also kept sprouting. September was a whirlwind with Group 1 Automotive, Sonic Automotive and Asbury Automotive Group each announcing plans of their own to acquire some of the largest private dealership groups in the U.S.
As the deals rolled in, our data continued to grow.
Which leads us to this week’s issue.
You’ll find several data-rich stories that you won’t find anywhere else. From the number of transactions to how many franchises were involved, there’s no shortage of buy-sell data.
Want to know how many dealerships were sold in your state last year? We got you. Curious to see how many Subaru franchises traded hands in 2021? We’ve got that, too. (35, by the way.)
In all, Automotive News can now more thoroughly tell the story of last year’s surging buy-sell market, a phenomenon that continues this year.
We have the data for that, too.
In Monday’s Automotive News:
Rising star. Stellantis is heading upstream and has the receipts to show for it: The automaker’s average transaction price in the quarter shot up 20 percent from the year-earlier period to as high as $53,212, according to some estimates. Jeep, according to Cox Automotive, had five vehicles transacting for more than $50,000 in the first quarter, led by the Grand Wagoneer at $96,802. The Grand Cherokee saw an increase as well, to more than $51,000, now that the three-row L model has been added to the family. Ram pickups, meanwhile, rose to $62,313 in the quarter. Dealers and analysts talk with Automotive News about the factors behind these increases that have put Stellantis a notch above other mass-market brands.
We’re No. 2! It’s no secret that Tesla is the electric vehicle king — but dark-horse Hyundai group is moving into the No. 2 position. Automotive News explore how the Korean group managed to get into this unexpected position, its strategic plans, what’s happening next and what this development signals about the industry scramble to be No. 2.
Online used retailers retrench: Carvana, Shift Technologies and Vroom all said they would cut jobs amid concerns over slowing demand and inflation. Carvana will lay off around 2,500 employees — or about 12 percent of its work force — and its executive team will forgo salaries for the rest of the year. Shift said it would reduce corporate positions by 10 percent and pause its Las Vegas expansion. Vroom appointed a new CEO and said it will parse a work force reduction as it realigns its business.
Toyota hits profit record: Shrugging off the pandemic and chip shortage, Toyota smashed earnings records across the board in its latest fiscal year, racking all-time highs for revenue, operating profit and net income. However, the ever-conservative automaker forecast that operating profit and net income will retreat in the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, even as it eyes record retail sales.
VW revives Scout brand: Volkswagen Group will launch a U.S.-based Scout subbrand for an all-new “rugged” electric pickup and SUV that will be on a new platform. The German automaker acquired the Scout name last year as part of its heavy-truck subsidiary’s purchase of Navistar.
May 17, 2020: Jack Pohanka, who pioneered the concept of “dual dealerships” through his Washington D.C.-based Pohanka Automotive Group, died at 92. Pohanka also is credited with coining the now-common label “megadealer” to describe auto retailers with multiple brands and locations. Pohanka, who was named an Automotive News Visionary Dealer in 2009, said he was the first U.S. auto dealer to sell both foreign and domestic vehicles. His domestic-brand family retail business — one of the nation’s oldest, operating since 1919 — eagerly recruited Honda, Acura and Lexus after he dualed a Fiat franchise with his Oldsmobile store. He told Automotive News: “A dealer has to hedge his bets. You can’t have all your eggs in one basket.” Pohanka became dealer principal of the business in 1958 after the death of his father.