Costa Rica's distributor of Toyota Group vehicles wants to own five to seven Toyota dealerships and "a couple" of Lexus stores in the U.S. within three years, its CEO said.
Purdy Motor Group is not quite halfway to that goal.
CEO Jesus Castro told Automotive News that his preference is to buy Toyota stores that get their cars and trucks from Houston distributor Gulf States Toyota Inc. Purdy is targeting Texas but is open to buying stores in the other states served by Gulf States Toyota: Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
Toyota stores there "have an excellent Gulf States Toyota distributor," Castro said. "We didn't come to the U.S. to be let down. We came here to compete with the best."
In December 2012, Purdy bought Atkinson Toyota-Scion Bryan and Atkinson Toyota Madisonville, both about 70 miles north of Houston, and hired former owner Paul Atkinson to run its North American operations.
Atkinson, 61, born and raised in Dallas, had started in the car business in 1982 in sales and was once chairman of the Toyota national dealer council.
"It was a tough deal to crack to get into North America," Atkinson said. "It's my job, as director of North American operations, to help us find the right stores, and I'm driving Texas first, Gulf States Toyota second and thirdly any other stores."
He added: "Does that mean that if the right deal came along for us outside of Gulf States Toyota, would we look at it? Absolutely. I've already looked at a couple of things outside of Gulf States Toyota."