AutoCanada operates 14 franchises in Illinois, under the name Leader Automotive Group.
The earnings come after the company in April announced that James Douvas, a 20-year veteran of automotive retail in the Chicago area, would become its vice president of U.S. operations. He is the third executive to lead AutoCanada’s American unit since 2018, succeeding Darvish, who was president of U.S. operations since 2019.
Antony said Douvas was brought in to turn the U.S. stores into a “massive” used cars operation, mirroring the strategy the dealership group has taken in Canada.
“We saw this as a massive opportunity right now that we weren’t actually executing on.”
Antony said AutoCanada has established a centralized used-car division in the U.S., helping to bolster the division’s used sales. The company sold 1,797 used retail vehicles in the second quarter in the U.S., up from 693 units a year earlier.
Antony said AutoCanada hopes to bring its new-to-used sales ratio in the U.S. in line with that of its Canadian unit. Last quarter, the dealership group sold about 38 percent more used vehicles than it did new units in Canada, but new-vehicle purchases still outpaced used sales in the U.S.
AutoCanada entered the United States in April 2018 after buying dealerships from a group in Illinois. Shortly after purchasing them, AutoCanada said the stores were plagued by “highly abnormal” costs, and they proved to be a drag on the company’s financial performance at the time.
But the unit’s finances have improved, and the company has signaled optimism that a new focus on used cars could eventually allow the group to continue expanding its presence south of the border. Last fall, it purchased AutoHaus Peoria, an Illinois dealership that sells Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Antony credited Darvish with building the “foundation of the business” in the U.S. over the previous two years.
“Tammy Darvish went in and … really, really cleaned up the business,” he said, adding that without her work, Douvas “wouldn’t be able to execute on the business the way he has.”
In an interview with Automotive News Canada, Darvish said she left the company after feeling like she “completed [her] mission,” which was to “restructure, rebrand and rebuild” the U.S. operations.
“We had to put a lot of stability in there and put together a team,” she said. “There were a lot of hard-working men and women who took a chance at that point, and we turned this company around.”
With its U.S. financial performance turned around, she said the company is now looking to better align the Canadian and American operations, with Douvas reporting to executives in Canada.
“So, after seven consecutive quarters of growth and making it profitable, finally, it became much more appealing, I think, for the leadership of AutoCanada to start to bridge the Canadian and U.S. operations more together,” Darvish said.
Darvish was one of Automotive News' 100 Leading Women in 2020 and 2010.
AutoCanada’s improving fortunes in the United States come as its overall financial outlook grows. It reported a second-quarter-record $1.28 billion in revenue, up 76 percent from a year earlier, and net income of $37.7 million, compared with a $20.1 million loss last year