Lithia Motors is poised to overtake AutoNation as No. 1 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S. if both companies keep up their current patterns around acquisitions.
Lithia added 69 dealerships last year and retailed 260,738 new vehicles, a 52 percent sales gain from the year before and less than 2,000 new vehicles behind AutoNation, according to the Automotive News Research & Data Center, which compiles the list. That sales increase — fueled partly by Lithia's April 2021 acquisition of the 34-store Suburban Collection, No. 21 on last year's list — moved Lithia from No. 3 on the list to No. 2, pushing Penske Automotive Group, the longtime occupant of the second-place slot, down to No. 3.
For Lithia, it's part of a larger growth journey that began nearly a decade ago when CEO Bryan DeBoer started aggressively acquiring dealerships. And Lithia's expansion boom is nowhere near over.