Group 1 Automotive Inc. plans to challenge a lawsuit filed by Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. that seeks to block the Houston dealership group's plans to acquire Lexus and Toyota stores in Charleston, S.C.
In its suit, Toyota Motor Sales says it did not consent to Group 1's desire to acquire Gene Reed Toyota-Scion and Gene Reed Lexus dealerships in Charleston, as required by the dealership framework agreement between Toyota and Group 1.
Toyota spokeswoman Celeste Migliore said in an e-mail that Toyota does not comment on pending litigation.
Group 1 says that it is the third-largest Toyota retailer in the United States and that its Toyota business has improved 21 percent in 2010, nearly double Toyota's sales performance nationwide.
Details of the framework agreement -- a standard document between major dealer holding companies and automakers -- have not been disclosed.