Penske Automotive Group Inc. is expanding its European presence with the purchase of eight dealerships in Italy.
The dealerships sell Porsche, Audi, Land Rover and Volvo vehicles in the northern Italian city of Bologna.
The acquisitions give Penske 16 dealerships in Italy, a Penske spokesman confirmed.
The acquired dealerships are expected to generate about $200 million in annual revenue and will put Penske on track to become the largest BMW, Audi and Porsche retailer in Italy, the spokesman said.
“We are one of the largest and we expect to be the largest at some point,” wrote Tony Pordon, Penske spokesman, in an email.
The addition of the stores “doubles the size of our business in Italy while providing the opportunity to significantly leverage our scale in the northern Italian marketplace,” President Robert Kurnick said in a statement on Monday.
In recent conference calls with Wall Street analysts, Roger Penske, the retailer’s chairman, said the company is open to acquiring more stores in the U.S. but that prices remained high here. He expressed strong interest in buying more stores in Europe where prices were more reasonable and allowed for a bigger return on investment.
Penske Automotive’s expansion into mainland Europe has helped the company to become Europe’s biggest independent dealership group by sales revenue. Penske took the No. 1 spot from Pendragon in the 2016 Guide to Europe’s Biggest Dealer Groups compiled by automotive distribution researchers ICDP for Automotive News Europe.
In 2014, Penske had climbed to No. 2 in the ranking based on its ownership of Sytner Group in the U.K. Last year it took majority control of Germany’s Jacobs Gruppe. The company also bought new dealerships in Spain and Italy. With its new acquisitions, Penske boosted revenue to 6.4 billion euros ($7.19 billion).
Penske ranks No. 2 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 233,524 new vehicles in 2015.
Nick Gibbs contributed to this report.