U.S. retailer Group 1 buys London dealership group
The third-largest dealership group in the U.S. just got a little less American.
Group 1 Automotive Inc., of Houston, has acquired the Spire Automotive Group of 12 dealerships in the Greater London area. It also has divested three dealerships in the U.S.
The three U.S. dealerships are Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen of Freehold, New Jersey, and Ira Toyota of Milford, Massachusetts.
Publicly traded Group 1, in a statement, said that in total, the three dealerships generated $160 million in trailing 12-month revenue.
“We continually evaluate our portfolio of dealerships relative to required future capital expenditures and current levels of return on investment and move to dispose of assets that do not offer appropriate returns on invested capital,” CEO Earl Hesterberg said in a statement.
Spire Automotive Group has four Audi dealerships, three BMW/Mini dealerships with a BMW aftersales center, two Seat dealerships, one Skoda dealership, one Volkswagen commercial vehicle dealership and one Jaguar dealership.
The 12 dealerships will continue to operate under the Spire name and are expected to generate $575 million in annualized revenues.
With the acquisition, Group 1 now has 29 dealerships in the UK. The dealership group expects its UK operations to generate $1.8 billion in estimated annual revenue.
"We are pleased to expand our relationship with BMW and the Volkswagen Group in the UK and to expand our relationship with Jaguar Land Rover from Brazil to the UK," Hesterberg said.
Following these moves, Group 1 has 162 dealerships, 212 franchises and 37 collision centers in the U.S., UK and Brazil with 34 brands represented, the company said.
Group 1 Automotive ranks third on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 166,896 new vehicles in 2014.
The company’s financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2015 will be released on Thursday, Feb. 11.
In other news, Group 1 said Frank Grese Jr. was appointed senior vice president of human resources, training and operations support. He replaces Brooks O’Hara, vice president of human resources, whose retirement on April 1 had been announced previously.