Public car dealership groups slow acquisitions in 2022

LMP Automotive Holdings Inc., which is now traded over the counter and is pursuing a liquidation plan, is included in the 2021 buying figures.

Sonic did not acquire any franchised stores in the first half of last year. AutoNation Inc. and Asbury Automotive Group Inc. had no new-vehicle dealership purchases in the first half of 2022 or 2021.

U.S. new-vehicle dealership acquisition spending by the publics fell by nearly half to $1.1 billion in the first half of this year, compared with $2.1 billion spent in the first half of 2021, according to an estimate from Haig Partners, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., buy-sell firm, which reviewed public disclosures, and Automotive News analysis.

Lithia was, by far, the biggest public buyer in the first half of 2022, acquiring 16 new-vehicle dealerships in five transactions, Automotive News found. But those totals are down sharply from the 57 stores the auto retail giant acquired in 11 transactions in the same period last year.

Group 1 and Penske Automotive each bought two U.S. dealerships in the first half of 2022, while Sonic Automotive bought one store.

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