Louisville gets Ford Sprot Trac
DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. will build the 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Trac at its Louisville, Ky., plant, ending production of the Ford Ranger at the site April 5. Ford will increase Ranger production at plants in St. Paul, Minn., and Edison, N.J.
Ford said it will begin selling the Sport Trac early next year as a 2001 model. The company would not say when it will start producing the model in Louisville. The Sport Trac marries a sport-utility cabin with a pickup bed.
MAGNA IN MICHIGAN
DETROIT - Magna International Inc. will build an office complex in suburban Detroit. The auto parts giant, based in Aurora, Ontario, said it will put up three buildings on 40 acres in Novi, Mich. The offices will house Magna employees working for various business units, including seating, trim panels, door hardware and closures. A design studio also is likely.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Republic Industries Inc. has agreed to acquire six dealerships in California and Florida for about $155 million in cash.
The dealerships have combined annual revenues of about $625 million. The acquisitions are: MacPherson Ford, Infiniti and Mazda in Tustin, Calif.; MacPherson Chevrolet in Irvine, Calif.; Lexus of Cerritos in Cerritos, Calif.; Smythe European Inc., a Mercedes-Benz and Volvo store in San Jose, Calif.; King's Crown Ford in Jacksonville, Fla.; and Contemporary Cars, a Mercedes-Benz and Porsche store in Maitland, Fla.
Republic is the largest dealership group in the United States, with almost 400 franchises in 20 states and 44 AutoNation USA used-car superstores in 13 states.
Two publicly held dealership groups plan secondary stock offerings. Group 1 Automotive Inc. of Houston and Sonic Automotive Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., intend to use the proceeds for acquisitions. Sonic plans to sell about 25 percent of the company, or just over 8 million shares of common stock, to raise up to $200 million. Group 1 plans to sell about 10 percent of the company, or 2 million shares of common stock, to raise about $51.6 million. Group 1 also is offering $100 million in 10-year, fixed-rate senior subordinated notes. The company anticipates the offerings will be completed by early March.