ORLANDO -- Charles Oglesby says 2010 is looking up. The CEO of Asbury Automotive Group Inc. said the public group has planned its business around flat volume but expects sales to increase, particularly when warm weather arrives.
Oglesby, 63, spoke here with Staff Reporter Amy Wilson.
What will get the market to turn around?
Unemployment stabilizing. When more people are working, [potential buyers] feel safer. With that safety, they feel a little bit more comfortable making those kind of decisions. The year will be probably 8 to 12 percent better than last year, which means opportunity. Everybody has ratcheted their businesses down and taken out a lot of costs, so the opportunity for better profits is here.
What was Asbury's cost reduction?
We've taken out more than $100 million, closer to $120 million. We believe half of that is structural [and won't come back].
You've said you want to strategically buy dealerships again. What is the potential for domestic brand stores?
We're interested. Right now we have an 85 percent luxury and midline import mix. Ford, Chevrolet -- we would be interested in diversifying our portfolio a little bit more toward those brands.
Why those brands?
We've always done well with Ford, and they have done a fabulous job of navigating through this terrain. And we think that there's a great future there. Really, the business we are in is portfolio management, having the products available that customers are looking for.