Dealership buy-sell activity, building off a brisk pace that began in late 2020, ramped up in the second quarter and appears primed to reach new heights for the remainder of 2021 thanks to rising dealership profitability, improved access to capital and increased activity from the publicly traded auto retailers.
Haig Partners, a buy-sell firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., estimated in its second-quarter Haig Report that 120 dealerships sold during the quarter, nearly triple the 42 stores that changed hands during the comparable period in 2020 when deals slowed during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic. Other dealership advisers also report robust deal-making with many expecting the strength of the market to persist for the balance of 2021 — though headwinds exist further out.
"The number of dealerships being acquired right now has exploded since this time last year, kind of going back to 2019," said Alan Haig, president of Haig Partners. "The stores are more valuable, but there's more demand for them than ever. The value of the stores has gone up significantly."