Sutherlin Automotive Group, in a strategic move, sold three Georgia dealerships last month and reentered Alabama this week with an acquisition of a combined two-brand import store.
Two of the three stores sold were near Atlanta. In a LinkedIn post about the sales, Sutherlin Automotive CEO Brett Sutherlin said his business plan is to expand in single-point markets, and Atlanta "no longer fit this bill."
Still, Sutherlin's LinkedIn post acknowledged that there were deep family and company ties to the locations. One of the dealerships, a Nissan store in Buford, Ga., had been the group's headquarters for over 40 years and where Sutherlin's father, George Sutherlin, worked until he died in February 2022.
On Monday, Sutherlin Automotive bought Reinhardt Lexus-Toyota, in Montgomery, Ala., from brothers Mike Reinhardt and Ed Reinhardt, Sutherlin said.
The dealership, which features separate showrooms, was renamed Toyota-Lexus of Montgomery. Montgomery is south of Birmingham.
Sutherlin said it marks the first Lexus store for the group. It also marks a return to Toyota and Alabama, Sutherlin said. He noted the group previously owned dealerships, including Toyota, in the state prior to selling them to Republic Industries Inc. in 1996, which later became auto retail giant AutoNation Inc.