Fueled by generous incentive programs, Los Angeles County's 25 largest dealerships overcame a sluggish economy and increased revenues in 2002. That matched the nationwide trend, which also saw incentives cut into margins.
Together, L.A.'s 25 largest dealerships generated $4.3 billion in sales in 2002, selling 144,018 new and used vehicles. Excluding No. 23 Cerritos Buick Pontiac GMC, which did not disclose 2001 revenues, the dealerships posted a 2.1 percent increase in revenues in 2002 over the year previous.
No. 8 Galpin Jaguar Lincoln Mercury registered the largest gain on the list, increasing sales by $40 million in 2002, to $175.1 million. Phil Marshall, its general business manager, attributed the growth to the expansion of the franchise to include Volvo and the opening of a facility handling higher-end Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo and Lincoln lines in June 2002.
Florida-based AutoNation has four dealerships on the list, with combined sales of $577 million on 19,653 cars sold among the dealerships.
With more than $500 million in revenues, Longo Toyota not only claims the title of largest auto dealership in Los Angeles County, but also in the nation, according to the annual Ward's Dealer 500 list. Longo's closest competition, No. 2 Galpin Ford, trails by $160 million in revenues.
Longo Toyota sold more than 23,000 new and used automobiles in 2002, the majority of them new vehicles. Its 2002 revenues of $561.3 million marked a scant 0.8 percent increase over the $556.9 million recorded the year earlier.
"Most of it has to do with our reputation," said Tom Rudnai, vice president and general manager. "We've been able to outpace the nation because of our repeat and referral business, which is due to our people and process."
Established in 1967, the dealership is part of the Penske Automotive Group, a subsidiary of Detroit-based Penske Corp. Headed by Greg Penske, son of famed race car driver Roger Penske, the Automotive Group has two other dealerships on the list, No. 3 Longo Lexus and No. 10 Penske Motorcars. The company owns six dealerships in Southern California, with a seventh on the way in spring 2004 in Orange County.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.