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Top 50 Dealership Groups in the U.S.

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Everyone wants their business to be on top. The fact is, though, that not every dealership or automotive group can claim to be number one. That is, unless the numbers back up such a claim. Recently, the Automotive News Fixed Ops Journal released data that ranks the top 50 dealership groups in the United States based on their 2018 body shop revenue.

Here’s how the first 10 groups of the top 50 break down. You can find the whole list here:

  1. Hendrick Automotive Group – 96 dealerships
  2. Lithia Motors Inc. – 181 dealerships
  3. Sonic Automotive Inc. – 104 dealerships
  4. Prime Automotive Group – 57 dealerships
  5. Ken Garff Automotive Group – 50 dealerships
  6. Suburban Collection – 45 dealerships
  7. #1 Cochran Automotive – 23 dealerships
  8. Holman Automotive Group Inc. – 33 dealerships
  9. Larry H. Miller Dealerships – 63 dealerships
  10. Serra Automotive Inc. – 43 dealerships

If your business is still climbing, keep your eyes on the prize. Your dedication to claiming one of those top spots can pay off with hard work and a smart, full-service marketing approach. Of course, it couldn’t hurt to take a closer look at what these top dogs are doing right and see if you can incorporate some of their strategies into your own business.

What It Takes to Be on Top

The overall success of any business depends on a variety of factors. That’s why it can seem like such a long, slow climb to the top. Many of the auto groups that made the top-50 list have been around for quite a while, giving them name recognition that pays off when customers are trying to decide where to buy or service a vehicle. But you don’t have to be on your fourth or fifth generation of ownership to claim that advantage. You just need good marketing.

Promoting your dealership’s strengths and utilizing all resources and advertising avenues to target potential customers pays off big – and you’ll see your return on marketing investment grow faster than you would have believed possible.

The Size Factor

Among the 50 dealership groups on this list, many of them are pretty big in scope. The largest, Lithia Motors Inc., encompasses 181 dealerships. But that doesn’t mean size is a perfect predictor of success – a couple of the winning auto groups have only six dealerships, and the smallest, Piercey Automotive Group, has just five.

By the same token, if your dealership is not part of a group, your success doesn’t hinge exclusively on the number of vehicles you have on your lot or the square footage of your showroom. It’s more about the big picture. How happy are your customers when they leave your dealership? How many of them recommend you to their friends and family? How many return for auto maintenance in your service center and when it’s time to buy or lease again?

For a dealership seeking to claim a spot on the prestigious “best of” lists, these are a few of the things that matter more than size.

Setting Goals for Improvement

Some of the auto groups on the top-50 list improved by leaps and bounds in terms of their 2018 body shop revenue compared to 2017. Gunn Automotive Group is the clear standout here, with a whopping 251 percent increase between the two years. Still, some didn’t change much at all, and a few actually saw less revenue in 2018 than in the previous year.

All that to say, what matters more than year-over-year comparisons is your ability to make lasting improvements where they’re needed. Rather than taking on large-scale overhauls, which often don’t stick, try setting achievable goals with reasonable time frames. You’ll be much more likely to see your dealership steadily rise in the ranks.

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John Paul Strong

John Paul Strong combines his two decades of automotive marketing experience with a team of more than 150 professionals as owner and CEO of Strong Automotive.

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