Lithia expects more market share
CEO Bryan DeBoer: Lithia is looking for stores to buy east of the Mississippi.
DETROIT -- Lithia Motors Inc. expects its 2013 total revenue from sales of new and used vehicles as well as fixed operations to grow this year.
Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer told Automotive News that sales of new vehicles should grow 8 to 10 percent in 2013; used-vehicle sales should experience a similar percentage gain; and revenue from fixed operations will be up 2 to 3 percent.
The estimates are for same-store operations and do not include sales gains from potential acquisitions.
"In terms of economic or market growth, about half of our growth will come from that," DeBoer said. "The other half is going to come from market conquest, which means we're going to take market share. That's what we've been doing over the last couple of years."
Lithia has won market share by "growing better people," DeBoer says. Lithia has increased employee training. DeBoer also regularly visits stores to keep management on plan.
Lithia, based in Medford, Ore., has $200 million to snap up stores if it finds the right deals this year. DeBoer says Lithia is diligently looking for dealerships to buy east of the Mississippi.
"We're also looking a little bit international, even though we believe that's more of a 3- to 5-year plan," DeBoer says. "But east of the Mississippi, we look forward to probably getting there some time later this year."
Western Europe and Canada also interest Lithia, DeBoer says.
Lithia's U.S. and international strategies are the same: Buy "mainstream franchises" in small- to medium-sized markets and luxury franchises in medium-sized metropolitan areas with 1 million to 3 million people, DeBoer says.
Lithia ranked ninth on the Automotive News list of top 125 U.S. dealership groups with 44,537 new-vehicle retail sales units in 2011.
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