Penske Automotive Group's expansion into mainland Europe has made the company Europe's biggest independent dealership group by sales revenue.
Penske took the No. 1 spot from Pendragon in the 2016 Guide to Europe's Biggest Dealer Groups, compiled by automotive distribution researchers ICDP for Automotive News Europe.
In 2014, Penske had climbed to No. 2 based on its ownership of Sytner Group in the U.K. Last year, it took majority control of Germany's Jacobs Gruppe. The company also bought dealerships in Spain and Italy. With its acquisitions, Penske boosted revenue to 6.4 billion euros ($7.19 billion).
Penske is No. 2 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., which is ranked on retail new-vehicle sales. In 2015, those sales for Penske were 233,524.
Penske added to its European holdings last week, buying eight dealerships in Italy.
Those dealerships will sell Porsche, Audi, Land Rover and Volvo vehicles in the Bologna market and are expected to generate about $200 million in annual revenue. The acquisitions give Penske 16 dealerships in Italy, a Penske spokesman confirmed.
In recent conference calls with Wall Street analysts, Roger Penske, the retailer's chairman, expressed strong interest in buying more stores in Europe, where prices were more reasonable and allowed for a bigger return on investment than in the U.S.