Cars are revving their way to a big comeback.
The top ten retailers collectively sold 1,231,944 vehicles last year, accounting for 36.4% of the top 150’s total sales. Vehicles are just as expensive as ever, and drivers are looking to cut costs whenever possible. However, with increased demand for travel, more and more customers are willing to break the bank for the ride of their dreams.
The largest car dealerships in the United States want to maintain that their businesses remain at the top. All of the ones on this list promote a variety of strengths and resources to get bodies back into the driver’s seat.
How many cars does CarMax sellThe nation’s largest and most profitable retailer of used cars is moving vehicles, even at the tail-end of sluggish sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the company sold 750,000 used cars and more than 425,000 wholesale vehicles at its in-store and virtual auctions. CarMax has 220 stores, and over 25,000 associates, and has maintained a position in Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For the last 16 consecutive years.
Next year, CarMax will celebrate three decades, after originally starting as a sole retail location out of Richmond, Virginia. Originally, the concept was developed by Circuit City — their parent company until 2002.
One of the oldest locations on this list, Penske has been in business for over 52 years, boasting an impressive fleet of more than 300,000 vehicles. Last year, their CarShop Used Vehicle Centers moved 63,403 units, and are aiming to double that amount by the end of 2023. It ranks among the World’s Most Admired Companies by Fortune Magazine.
As of this month, Lithia Motors operates 267 stores in 24 states. It is the third-largest new vehicle automotive dealership, after CarMax and Penske. Nearly 22,000 people work at one of their many locations.
Lithia Motors was opened in Oregon and stayed there, maintaining headquarters in Medford. Early in the 1990s, the stock went public at $11 per share; the price is now a little north of $300.
New cars make up most of the auto sales (58%), with used cars composing the rest (42%).
As of last year, AutoNation owned and operated 300 locations across the country. In total, the company has sold over 13 million vehicles — the first automotive retailer to ever reach the milestone. An estimated 132,043 vehicles were sold in 2021, with 77.4% being used cars.
Because of supply chain issues (specifically, a computer chip shortage), there is an increased demand in used vehicles, and dealerships have benefitted from the increased prices. This summer, half of all Chevrolets, Fords, Toyotas and other major brands arriving in the next 90 days are already presold.
The fifth-largest automotive retailer in the United States operates over 111 dealerships in 13 states, representing 25 different car brands. Specifically, EchoPark Automotive offers 1-4-year-old pre-owned vehicles. Sonic Automotive plans to rapidly expand their EchoPark footprint into a nationwide distribution network that reaches 90% of the U.S. population by 2025.
The automotive retailer is recognized by the International Fortune 500 and has collision centers in the United States, United Kingdom, and Brazil. Group 1 was founded as a public corporation in 1997 and raised their standing by sequential acquisitions over the next several years.
Based out of Houston, the company has 283 locations, and over 15,000 employees. The end of last year saw Group 1 acquire Prime Automotive Group, which included 27 additional dealerships. BMW and non-franchise cars make up the largest revenue by brand, with Texas and California serving as the most profitable states.
According to last their Q4 report, Hendrick generated $11 billion in revenue after selling 205,000 vehicles in 2021. The dealership represents 130 different franchises. In the 1970s, namesake Rick Hendrick purchased a struggling franchise in South Carolina. It wasn’t long before the location became the region’s most profitable. This led to another purchase… and another.
Moving through the Carolinas, Hendrick Automotive became the #1 volume Chevrolet franchise. The next several decades saw movements throughout the south, culminating in an online destination in 2007.
Asbury’s accolades are impressive. Coming in at No. 405 on last year’s Fortune 500 list, the company is composed of 148 dealerships and 198 franchises representing 31 American, European, and Asian brands. Started by a former vice president with Subarus of America, the company branched out from Atlanta quickly, heading to several different states by 2010.
Currently, the company operates out of 16 divisions across 12 states.
The Warren Buffet-led company is one of the largest dealership groups in America, has over $8 billion in revenue, and conducts business out of 78 independently operated dealerships.
Like many on this list, they bought their way into the business, although their acquisition was much larger by comparison. In 2015, a year after the company sold their 500,000 Toyotas, the Van Tuyl Group was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway at an estimated $2.3 billion.
Berkshire Hathaway is the eighth-largest public company in the world; their Class B stock is the seventh-largest component on the S&P 500 Index.
The online-only pre-owned destination has crashed into the dealership rankings. With increased demand for used vehicles, stay-at-home buyers have a personal place to browse, without ever having to leave the couch.
For over a decade, the dealership has been utilizing innovation to push their vehicles through their patented, multi-story car vending machine. With 21,000 employee, Carvana benefited for being at the forefront of the vehicle online marketplace. Pictures of their inventory are also taken with 3D computer vision, machine learning, and augmented reality.