Editor's note: An earlier version of this story, which also appeared on Page 3 of the March 26 print edition -- and included in the Top 150 Dealership Groups supplement attached to that issue -- failed to say why the store count and sales fell for Gillman Cos., which was ranked No. 73 on the newest list. At the end of 2016, the dealership group’s ownership restructured, with Chris Gillman splitting off and taking four dealerships to create his own group, branded as Team Gillman.
Westwood, Mass.-based Prime Automotive Group bounded into the top 15 on Automotive News' annual Top 150 Dealership Groups list, which ranks dealership groups based in the U.S. by new-vehicle retail sales. That was one of several revisions in the rankings due to ownership changes amid an active buy-sell market in 2017.
Prime surged 53 rungs, to No. 13, as its new-vehicle retail sales more than tripled to 46,163 from 13,855 a year earlier. The group's store count also increased more than that of any other group on the list, to 57 from 28, largely because of a change in the company's structure.
In October, Abrams Capital, a private-equity firm that had first invested in Prime Motor Group 11 years earlier, cashed out. It sold a majority stake in the group to GPB Capital, a New York asset-management company, which already had majority stakes in dealerships selling 24 brands in 10 states. David Rosenberg retained a minority stake and remains CEO of the renamed Prime Automotive.
With its new rooftop count of 57, Prime ranks 10th in total number of dealerships, behind Herb Chambers Cos., of Somerville, Mass., with 58.
In the past two months, Rosenberg has hired a CFO, vice president of corporate development and vice president of finance and insurance. His newly hired COO is Marty Collins, the former western regional vice president for Group 1 Automotive Inc. and former president of Gulf States Toyota.
That team will devise a strategy to grow Prime Automotive through acquisitions and other auto retail investments, Rosenberg said. "Our goal is to grow strategically. We'll go into a market and buy a group and then add individual dealerships to it."