Group 1 buys 5 Ga. dealerships

Hesterberg: "We found both the city and people to be very welcoming."
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Group 1 Automotive Inc. has acquired five dealerships from Jay Automotive Group, Inc. in Columbus, Ga.

The deal further cements Group 1’s presence in that market after it bought Rivertown Ford there last year, the company said in a statement Monday.

“We found both the city and people to be very welcoming,” said Group 1’s CEO Earl Hesterberg in the statement. “We are delighted to build scale and offer a wider selection of automotive brands in such a thriving community.”

Group 1’s recent purchase from Jay Automotive Group includes Jay Toyota-Scion, Jay Buick-GMC, Jay Subaru of Columbus, Jay Mazda, and Volvo of Columbus, the company said.

The dealerships will operate as Rivertown Toyota, Rivertown Scion, Rivertown Buick-GMC, Rivertown Subaru, Rivertown Mazda, and Volvo of Columbus.

They are expected to generate $150 million in estimated annual revenues.

Group 1 has acquired more than $1.3 billion in annualized revenues in 2013, the company said.

Group 1, of Houston, owns and operates 148 dealerships in the United States, the United Kingdom and Brazil. It ranks No. 4 on the Automotive News list of the top 125 U.S. dealership groups, with retail sales of 128,550 new vehicles in 2012.

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