In the dealership acquisition market, the list of coveted franchises is expanding, and blue sky values are rising for the brands most in demand.
In a report issued this week, Presidio Group, a San Francisco-based financial services firm that advises dealership buyers and sellers, says buyer interest in Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan increased significantly last year.
With that broader interest, the Big 5 group of franchises most in demand with buyers -- made up of Toyota, Honda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus -- has morphed into the Big 10, said Alan Haig, head of Presidio's automotive services.
The dealership groups Presidio has met with so far in 2012 are seeking a broad array of those Big 10 franchises, Haig said.
They're not just looking for the perfect franchise in the perfect market, which frequently was the case in recent years.
"It's almost an omnivorous approach to dealership acquisitions, which I have not seen since the '90s," Haig said. "The dealer groups I'm seeing are interested in BMW and Kia at the same time. That's pretty profound."
Presidio expects acquisition activity to continue at a brisk pace in 2012. Buyers have capital to invest, interest rates are low, vehicle sales are increasing, and dealership profitability is likely to be strong for several years.