Lithia Motors Inc. bought a high-volume Honda store in Hamilton Township, N.J., from a dealership group that last year was sued by two captive finance companies alleging that the group defaulted on millions of dollars in floorplan loans.
Lithia, the third-largest new-vehicle retailer in the nation, said Tuesday it bought Hamilton Honda this month from auto retail veteran Michael Saporito and former NFL linebacker Jessie Armstead. Hamilton Honda last year generated $160 million in revenue and was ranked No. 23 nationally among Honda stores and was the No. 8 Honda store in the New York metro market.
Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said the dealership used to be one of the top 10 Honda stores in the country, and he called it "the dominant" store in central New Jersey. The acquisition, which included real estate, also gives Lithia an additional presence in New Jersey and near eastern Pennsylvania; it now has 183 stores nationally.
DeBoer declined to reveal the purchase price.
Hamilton Honda was profitable, and Lithia seeks to grow the dealership's used-vehicle volume and service-and-parts business.
"The store operated fairly well," DeBoer said. "The main things are the costs that you have when you're a smaller group are higher than what we have. So we'll be able to find some fairly good cost improvements."