Here's how he's doing it.
Garff wants to buy dealerships — preferably in mid-sized markets in the West and Midwest — that sell at least 200 new and used vehicles a month. Target franchises include Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Chevrolet, Ford, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
To raise money for acquisitions, Garff recruited Leucadia because one of the company's executives is a longtime acquaintance. Leucadia is a private subsidiary of a public holding company in New York.
Leucadia, a buyout firm, owns a majority stake in a limited-liability company that Garff created to buy dealerships. That company is separate from the operation that owns his 30 Utah dealerships.
Garff and his management team run all of the group's dealerships in Utah, plus the newly acquired stores throughout the West and Midwest. Leucadia is a passive investor.
"There are checks and balances," Garff explains. "There is an exit strategy if we have disagreements. It is not as if I am a minority shareholder without rights."
Leucadia would not comment last week on its partnership with Garff.
Despite his aggressive revenue targets, Garff says his business model prevents his company from taking on too much debt, tying up too much revenue in acquisitions or using capital from a private equity firm that might want control in exchange.
He believes other private groups will adopt a similar strategy to expand their operations.
"It's a trend that's coming as you get bigger and bigger dealerships," Garff says. "How many people can buy an operation in a big city that sells 3,000 to 4,000 cars a year and has plant, equipment and real estate worth $70 million? Private parties don't have that kind of cash."