Larry H. Miller Group Dealerships has acquired seven dealerships in Arizona for an undisclosed price. It is the privately-held group’s largest acquisition to date.
The newly acquired stores bring the Sandy, UT, group’s dealership total to 55 in seven western states. Four of the new stores are located in Tucson: Tucson Dodge Ram, Tucson Chrysler Jeep, Tucson Fiat and Tucson Volkswagen. The other three are in Avondale, a western suburb of Phoenix: Avondale Chrysler Jeep, Avondale Dodge Ram and Avondale Fiat.
Doug Moreland and John Grant are stores’ former owners.
Steve Starks, executive vice president for the Larry H. Miller Management Corp., who is in charge of dealership acquisitions, said the new stores double the group’s presence in Arizona with mostly Chrysler Group brands, on which the group is ‘bullish.’
He said dealership values are increasing but his group is still very much interested in growing its portfolio. It is doing so by cultivating relationships with dealers who are looking for exit strategies, he said.
“Revenue and profit have gone up the last couple of years and there are more buyers than there are sellers. That’s driving values up,” said Starks. “When a dealer considers selling, we hope we’re the first people they call.”
Before the latest acquisitions, the Miller group operated six dealerships in the Phoenix area.
The Miller group ranks No. 10 in the Automotive News list of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States with new retail sales of 39,596 units in 2012. It also had used sales of 36,063, and reported revenue of $2.93 billion last year.
Starks said the new dealerships are expected to increase the group’s annual unit volume by 12,000 units, about evenly split between new and used.
“It was the right market for us, they are good stores and the sellers have done a good job of running them,” Starks said. “So the combination of all those forces coming together really made them attractive to us.”
Over the last four years, the Miller group has added 23 dealerships and sold five.
In addition to the stores in Arizona, the Miller group owns stores in Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington.