The Dave Smith dealership brand is expanding, and so is its operating model.
RFJ Auto Partners Inc., the fast-growing dealership group that bought Dave Smith Auto Group in April, acquired a Nissan store in Spokane, Wash., on Oct. 30 and renamed it Dave Smith Nissan of Spokane. The store's name, website and operating model were changed immediately.
"We're really excited about being able to expand the Dave Smith brand and take their unique selling to a different brand than we'd done in the past," said RFJ President Rick Ford.
Part of the Dave Smith model is having a large inventory, so the Nissan store, previously called Jaremko Nissan, is already expanding its inventory and adding used-vehicle stock. The store sold 625 new and used vehicles in 2014. Ford said he expects that to more than double in 2016.
High volume is a hallmark of the Dave Smith model. With just two stores previously, one selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram and the other Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC in tiny Kellogg, Idaho, Dave Smith sold 9,298 new vehicles last year. RFJ plans to put the Dave Smith name on any dealerships it acquires in the Northwest.
Ford, 52, formed RFJ in February 2014 with the backing of Jordan Co., a New York private equity firm. With the acquisition of the Spokane Nissan store and of a Hyundai store in Greenville, Texas, on Oct. 5, RFJ is now up to 26 dealerships. Based on same-store sales, Ford projects that RFJ will have 2016 annual revenue of $1.58 billion and new-car sales of around 27,000.
And the group is working on more acquisitions. It has signed an asset purchase agreement on its first luxury store, one of the "Big 3 German imports," Ford said, adding that the deal is expected to close by January at the latest.