Growing Morgan Automotive Group of Tampa, Fla., bought two Florida Kia dealerships from LMP Automotive Holdings Inc. last week and bought a Florida Stellantis store in a separate, unrelated November transaction.
It marks the third dealership sale announced by small auto retailer LMP in three months. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., company said in a Monday news release that it is under contract to sell two more dealerships and is marketing its two remaining franchised stores.
The deal for Kia of Cape Coral and Kia of Port Charlotte closed on Dec. 15, according to Morgan Automotive CEO Brett Morgan. The dealerships' names remain, he said.
"That was kind of third time's the charm trying to acquire those stores because we bid on them when Fuccillo [Automotive Group] was selling," Brett Morgan told Automotive News, referring to when LMP bought the dealerships in March 2021. And he said his group was interested when LMP brought the Kia stores to market this year.
LMP was set to sell the two Kia Florida dealerships and four other West Virginia stores to Atlantic Coast Automotive Group. However, in October, LMP said that deal had been terminated by the buyer.
"We were happy to be able to have another opportunity to acquire those two dealerships," Morgan said of the Kia stores. "We love Kia and love those two markets."
The acquisition adds to Morgan Automotive's footprint in Southwest Florida. "It's a growing market in Florida," Brett Morgan said.
The Kia dealership acquisitions are the latest purchase by Morgan Automotive in a busy year.
Last month, the group bought Tallahassee Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram, which also sold Fiat vehicles. Brett Morgan said it marks his group's first store in Tallahassee, Florida's capital.
Morgan Automotive bought the store on Nov. 11 from dealer Ken Marks, Brett Morgan said. The dealership was renamed Tallahassee Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat.
The Tallahassee acquisition was the first since August when Morgan Automotive bought three dealerships in Sarasota, Fla. In June, Morgan Automotive bought Ford of Clermont and sold its Genesis of Fort Myers dealership, both in Florida. In May, Morgan Automotive bought Fuccillo Kia of Clermont, plus two domestic-branded dealerships in Tampa.
Morgan Automotive does not have any other acquisitions under contract, though Brett Morgan indicated he expects his group will be in the hunt for more in 2023.
"We are still a very acquisitive company," he said. "The reality is it'll probably look a lot like this year and the year prior. But tough to play crystal ball. If the right opportunities are out there, we'll do as much as we have the capacity to acquire."
Brett Morgan said the group remains bullish on Florida, the only state it has dealerships in.
"We're not looking anywhere else," Brett Morgan said of other states. "But we're open-minded folks."
Morgan Automotive now has 61 franchised dealerships. The group wound down operations of a used-vehicle store in Lake City, Fla., this month, Brett Morgan added.
Morgan Automotive ranks No. 8 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 60,951 new vehicles in 2021.