Q: The 2023 NADA Show is now solidly in the rearview mirror. What were some of your takeaways?
Alan Haig: At the NADA Show in Dallas, I had the pleasure of speaking with Bryan DeBoer, Chief Executive Officer, President and Director of Lithia Motors, for an hour onstage in Dallas during a conference Haig Partners helps organize.
I started by putting up a slide that showed that a $1,000 investment in Lithia on April 30, 2009, was worth $91,170 on January 26, the day of our discussion. This appreciation in value was far more than other auto retailers’ stocks and superior to the best-known tech stocks during that same period. The main reason? Lithia grew faster.
In 2008, Lithia generated $2.1 billion in revenue from 96 dealerships. By 2022 its revenue had jumped to more than $30 billion from 282 dealerships. Some of this revenue growth came from increases in same-store sales, due to improved operations. However, the large majority of it came from acquisitions that fit Lithia’s strategy to build out a nationwide network of larger-than-average dealerships located within 100 miles of almost every person in the United States. After it builds out its physical network of stores, Lithia wants to use its Driveway website to sell and deliver vehicles to people who reside outside its markets, giving it the capability to sell vehicles profitably to almost everyone in the U.S. As such, Lithia is on track to be the first truly national U.S. auto retailer.