Penske Automotive's expansion into mainland Europe has helped the U.S.-based company to become Europe's biggest independent dealer 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.
Penske's growth is part of a wider trend in Europe. "There continues to be a significant number of dealer group consolidations through mergers and acquisitions," ICDP Managing Director Steve Young said.
In 2014, Penske had climbed to No. 2 in the ranking based on its ownership of Sytner Group in the UK. Last year it took majority control of Germany's Jacobs Gruppe. The company also bought new dealers in Spain and Italy. With its new acquisitions, Penske boosted revenue to 6.4 billion euros.
Automakers are continuing to divest or consolidate low-margin company-owned dealerships to focus on profitability of their manufacturing operations. This is helping large independent dealer groups, Young said. "Automakers can appoint them to an under-performing location with confidence that it will be a second-quartile performer in six months," he said.