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Lithia (LAD) Sets Foot in Georgia & Expands Further in California

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Lithia Motors, Inc. (LAD - Free Report) recently announced the acquisition of one of the top Honda (HMC - Free Report) stores in the Southeast region — Curry Honda — located in Chamblee, GA. This acquisition marks Lithia’s first dealership in the state of Georgia and its strategic location in the top 10 Atlanta market.

Lithia also boosted its Southwest network with the buyout of the top Jeep volume dealer in California — the Orange Coast Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Fiat in Costa Mesa. The dealership will be led by Jon Gray, one of the best Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge leaders in the country, and the past national dealer chairman of what is now the Stellantis National Dealer Council.

These transactions were financed through Lithia’s existing on-balance sheet capacity. Moreover, together these buyouts are anticipated to add $320 million in combined annualized revenues.
Lithia is highly optimistic about the above-mentioned buyouts. These high-performing, customer-focused stores would perfectly complement the company’s existing product portfolio and further expand its omni-channel network. In fact, the buyout aligns with Lithia’s plan to fortify the reach and density of its network, in a bid to serve customers more conveniently.

Lithia had earlier announced an ambitious five-year plan to yield $50 billion in revenues and $50 in earnings per share, including 200 plus acquisitions. The addition of Curry Honda in the Atlanta metro area and Orange Coast Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Fiat in Orange County brings Lithia’s total estimated annualized revenues acquired in 2021 to $6.2 billion, keeping the company well ahead of its schedule of network expansion.

The Oregon-based dealer’s expanding network density is essential for conveniently and affordably catering to customer needs throughout the vehicle-ownership lifecycle.

Lithia is one of the leading automotive retailers of new and used vehicles, and related services in the United States. It offers tailored services complemented through its nationwide network. The buyout of the dealerships is in sync with the auto retailer’s proven success strategy of acquiring strong, high-performing franchises. It will also enable the auto retailer to create loyal and satisfied customers in the Atlanta and Orange County regions.

Lithia’s diversified product mix and multiple streams of income reduce the firm’s risk profile. The company generates income from businesses, including used and new vehicle retail, finance, insurance as well as automotive repair and maintenance. The diversified portfolio positions it well for top- and bottom-line growth.

Of late, the company has been on a acquisition spree as it seeks to profitably consolidate auto dealerships into its network. This August, Lithia announced the company's expansion into Canada through a new partnership with Toronto-based Pfaff Automotive Partners. The transaction, being Lithia's first international acquisition, paved way for its growth and capital deployment. Lithia also acquired Pfaff's leasing business, a new adjacent line for the company to expand upon throughout North America. In August, Lithia also announced the acquisition of Rock Honda, a Top 20 Honda New Volume Dealer in the United States. This buyout is anticipated to add $170 million in combined annualized revenues, and has boosted Lithia’s presence and offerings in the Southwest region.

Lithia put up a stellar show in second-quarter 2021 and reported adjusted earnings of $11.12 per share, up a whopping 199% from the prior-year quarter’s $3.72 per share. Total revenues also surged 117.8% year over year to $6,009.4 million. With this, Lithia claims to have reported the highest quarterly earnings and revenues in its history.

Lithia, peers of which include Penske Automotive (PAG - Free Report) and Group 1 Automotive (GPI - Free Report) , currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.