As more dealerships hit the market, buy-sell activity is continuing at a strong pace early in 2019, buy-sell advisers say.
Dealers are opting to acquire stores to add scale, shed certain franchises or exit the business while dealership values, despite some dips, remain relatively high. The brisk pace of deals also comes despite slowing new-vehicle sales, margin pressures and rising interest rates. Dealers also are making less money, with the average dealership's net pretax profit dropping 2.6 percent last year to just shy of $1.4 million, according to National Automobile Dealers Association data.
The active start to the year follows healthy 2018 dealership sales. Last year, 364 individual dealerships in the U.S. were sold, according to The Haig Report, which is published by Haig Partners, a buy-sell advisory firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The number of deals rose 10 percent from 2017, though the sales pace slowed in last year's fourth quarter.