RLJ McLarty Landers may add stores
Franklin McLarty: Eyes import brands
ORLANDO -- RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings wants to add stores to its portfolio, specifically Toyota, Honda and luxury brands such as BMW, Lexus, Audi, Jaguar. But such acquisitions would have to "generate the right returns," the company's CEO says.
"We're big fans of Toyota and Honda -- and while we value our relationship highly with all the OEMs we represent, we only have one Toyota store and one Honda store," Franklin McLarty, who took over the reins of the group on Jan. 1, told Automotive News at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention here.
"We have a Mercedes dealership, but we don't have other highlines, so any of those would be interesting to us. The reason we don't have many of those dealerships is because the transaction prices -- when they have changed hands -- have been very, very high. We still need to be able to generate a return for all the shareholders."
RLJ McLarty Landers was formed in 2007 by McLarty's father, Mack McLarty, who was also chief of staff in the Clinton administration, and Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment TV. The third partner was Steve Landers, a longtime Arkansas dealer who until recently ran the group's day-to-day operations along with Franklin McLarty, who was then the group's senior vice president.
During the worst of the recession, the partners more than doubled their dealership group's original size to 25 dealerships.
The group owns stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. They represent a mix of domestic and nonluxury brands.
Franklin McLarty says owning dealerships in the south-central region makes it easy to "connect with the stores, which is important," but added: "We won't be limited by geography.
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