AutoNation Inc., the largest dealership group in the United States, is still on a shopping binge, with acquisitions in the pipeline that would add $10 billion to its annual revenue.
The $10 billion excludes the acquisitions announced last week. AutoNation agreed to pay a total of $200 million for 16 dealerships with combined annual revenue of $1 billion. The dealerships are in five states - California, Colorado, Florida, Texas and Washington.
With last week's purchases, AutoNation, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., expects to sell 1 million new and used vehicles in 1999, up from 609,886 in 1998. With those additions, AutoNation will have 394 franchises at 276 locations in 20 states and more than $16 billion in annual revenue.
AutoNation spokesman Oscar Suris declined to say when the additional acquisitions, which would add $10 billion in revenue, will be completed.
One of the latest dealers to sell out is Jim Woulfe, president of Shamrock Ford in Dublin, Calif. Woulfe, 78, a past president of the National Automobile Dealers Association, is retiring from the automobile business. He declined to comment on the sale.
AutoNation is still on a buying spree, even though the acquisition announcements are less frequent than last year. Also, the national strategy is unchanged. The company still plans to be in the top 50 U.S. markets, primarily in the South and West, and to acquire mainly franchises for six major automakers - American Honda, DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Nissan North America and Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. It now is in 26 of the top markets, Suris said.
AutoNation has shifted gears to some degree, however, buying more dealerships in markets where it already is represented because it needs a stronger presence to promote the AutoNation label. The company would not disclose how long it will focus on those markets or reveal market share goals.
Before last week's deals, AutoNation's most recent acquisition was announced on Dec. 14, 1998.
AutoNation has decided to announce acquisitions when combined revenue tops $1 billion.