Asbury had 83 dealerships in 10 states at the end of 2014. By the end of 2020, those figures were 91 in nine states. In August, Asbury bought its second Subaru dealership and third Colorado store when it purchased Greeley Subaru in Colorado from Warren Yoder. In September, Asbury sold BMW of Charlottesville in Virginia to Flow Automotive Cos., exiting that market.
With Larry H. Miller's footprint in seven Western states, Asbury will reenter California, a state it had exited around the Great Recession, with its last store there being sold in May 2011, Asbury said. Asbury has been growing a presence in Colorado since 2019. The other states — Utah, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico and Washington — are new for the group.
Asbury learned about the Larry H. Miller opportunity after J.P. Morgan, which was working with Larry H. Miller, reached out in June or July, Hult said.
The Miller executive team, led by President Dean Fitzpatrick, will stay in place, and Asbury will keep the Larry H. Miller name on the dealerships.
"Larry H. Miller is a name that's nationally known and well respected for all that that group has accomplished," Hult said. "We certainly see the value in the name and certainly want to respect the heritage."
Following the Sept. 29 deal announcement, Hult; Asbury CFO Michael Welch; Larry H. Miller Group of Cos. owner Gail Miller; her son, Steve Miller, chair of the Larry H. Miller group board of directors; and the Miller executive team traveled to meet store management teams. Hult said he told them Asbury would initially focus on "the relationship and the people first and get everyone integrated" before adding the Larry H. Miller dealerships to the Clicklane digital tool.
Hult declined to address the specifics of any potential framework agreement challenges or whether Asbury may have to sell any stores. He told analysts on a call last month that one brand may pose a problem. Framework agreements govern relationships between automakers and their largest franchised dealers and can limit the number of stores an owner can have of a certain brand overall or in a certain region.
With the Park Place deal, Asbury ran into framework issues with Lexus. It acquired two Lexus stores from Park Place and subsequently had to sell one Lexus outlet in South Carolina. Larry H. Miller has three Lexus stores — two in Utah and one in Washington.