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Lithia buys 2 stores in Florida

Growing Lithia Motors Inc. has purchased another two dealerships, this time expanding its footprint in Florida, and it opened an Infiniti store across the country in Los Angeles.

The nation's third-largest new-vehicle dealership group on Feb. 1 purchased Land Rover Orlando and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram of Sanford from Fields Auto Group of Glencoe, Ill.

Terms weren't disclosed, but Lithia said Tuesday that it paid for the stores using capital raised last year. The dealership group said the two stores are expected to add $200 million in revenue annually. Lithia said its previously awarded Infiniti point in Los Angeles is expected to add $40 million in annualized revenue.

Lithia entered Florida in fall 2019 when it acquired three stores in the Tampa market from Williams Automotive Group. The retailer said the most recent acquisitions will help build density in southeast states.

"We are excited to welcome the high-performing Fields Auto Group to the Lithia and Driveway family," Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement. "This acquisition will further expand the reach of Driveway, our digital in-home solution, providing products and services throughout the entire vehicle-ownership life cycle in our growing Southeast region."

Lithia is aiming to grow revenue to $50 billion by 2025, in large part through acquisitions. The company, which generated $13.1 billion in revenue in 2020, said it is on track to add dealerships this year totaling more than $7 billion in annual revenue.

The two-dealership sale by Fields was a strategic divestiture, and the group still has locations in Florida, said Erin Kerrigan, managing director of Kerrigan Advisors, a dealership sell-side firm in Irvine, Calif., which represented Fields in the transaction.

Kerrigan said Florida is a hot buy-sell market, with the Orlando market growing in population.

Fields has about 20 dealership locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Florida.

Lithia of Medford, Ore., ranks No. 3 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 180,582 new vehicles in 2019.

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