Stopnitzky said there's "always a unique buyer" for a single franchise standalone store.
"Every buyer will value the same opportunity differently based on the uniqueness of the opportunity and how it may be a strategic fit for the group," Stopnitzky said. "We just sold a single-rooftop standalone Subaru dealership in Tucson, Ariz., and we sold it to Gee Automotive group with stores in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. This was their first venture out of the Northwest. That single-rooftop store was a top-performing Subaru dealership, and it was able to bring Gee Automotive Group into Arizona."
Strong relations between dealers and manufacturers also can have an impact on buyer demand for certain brands, according to Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners, a buy-sell firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
"Many dealers told us that Toyota separated itself, distinguished itself during the pandemic, for the quality of information they provided to their dealers, to allow dealers to plan and act: 'Here's what you can expect to receive this month in terms of number of new units. Here's what you can expect to receive in the next quarter,' " said Haig, whose firm was involved in the sale of six Toyota dealerships over the past year. "And that allowed dealers to plan. And I think that there's always been a very high spirit of partnership between Toyota-Lexus and its dealer body."
Toyota's product portfolio also is getting fresher with redesigns of its Tundra full-size pickup and Sequoia large SUV, and the introduction of its bZ4X crossover EV.
"They have cars, they have trucks," Haig said. "You can spend $30,000 on a Toyota or $90,000. They have a really big range and they're very profitable businesses. So just about every dealer in the country would love to add a Toyota store to their business, their group."
Schmidt said popular vehicles, facility initiatives and having a lot of owners in the dealership network at retirement age can drive sales of particular brand stores.
"We're seeing a lot more interest in Kia and Hyundai, for example," Schmidt said.
Schmidt said facility initiatives, "particularly by Hyundai, are driving a lot of Hyundai dealers to consider selling. It's a big expense. A very, very large portion of Hyundai dealers are not at the current factory required facility initiatives."
Melissa Burden contributed to this report.