AUSTIN, Texas — As Ineos Automotive commences initial deliveries of its rugged Grenadier SUV in the U.S., which figures to be the fledging automaker's largest market, it will do so without any stores owned by the six publicly traded auto retailers in the U.S.
And that likely will not change anytime soon.
Greg Clark, Ineos Automotive's executive vice president for the Americas, said the brand did have conversations with some publicly traded groups, which he did not name, but pointed to the bustling dealership buy-sell market as a reason why the automaker did not partner with a public company.
"We're doing this in a period of such intense activity with buy-sells and with consolidation and expansion of brand footprints and dealer group footprints that ultimately those conversations that did get to the mature state, we agreed, 'Listen, we're not going to get the share of voice [needed],' " Clark told Automotive News on the sidelines of a media event here.
"This really is going to need disproportionately more effort in set-up period as a brand than buying an extra Mercedes franchise or BMW franchise where you can sort of copy and paste your operations from elsewhere."
Ineos Automotive revealed its first 18 U.S. dealerships in September, which cover California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Washington. A 19th dealership, located in Connecticut, was added in October after a delay in licensing with the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, Clark said.
Large private groups such as Holman Inc., Gee Automotive Cos., Sewell Automotive Cos. and Mills Automotive Group are among the initial franchisees in the Ineos Automotive retail network.
Clark said Ineos Automotive plans to reveal another two dealerships, one each in Vancouver and Toronto, in November. He declined to name the owners.
Clark said Ineos will probably grow its retail network by six or seven stores in the U.S. and Canada combined by the end of 2024.
Clark said public auto retailers still are interested in an Ineos franchise in the U.S., but he declined to identify which.
To be sure, one public auto retailer does own Ineos dealerships but in a different market.
As part of Lithia Motors Inc.'s March acquisition of Jardine Motors Group in the United Kingdom, the U.S. auto retail giant acquired two Ineos stores.