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Getting to Go

Buy/sell news for auto retailers

Getting to Go, is a quarterly newsletter focused on the dealership mergers and acquisitions business. We aim to bring dealers, investors, vendors, consultants and others working in the buy sell business insights and information. The automotive retail business is very complex and preparing to buy or sell a dealership then completing the actual transaction requires a great deal of specialized knowledge. We hope Getting to Go can give readers a useful resource for that knowledge.

Tales from the trenches

Family dynamics derail succession intentions

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A detailed succession plan, decided upon long before it is executed, is not only necessary in a family-owned business, it can also prevent a family-destroying fallout. Scali Rasmussen’s partners share tales from the trenches that prove that point.

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Succession planning is about much more than who takes over when a dealer owner dies. It is also about creating the conditions for the next owner or owners’ success. Hugh Robert, a partner and succession advisor at family business succession planning experts The Rawls Group, spoke with Getting to Go! about how The Rawls Group assists families in crafting a succession plan which benefits diverse needs. Below is an edited version of that conversation.

So, you want to keep your dealership in the family?

Crafting the proper financial platform is key

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In today’s environment of roll ups, acquisitions, financial requirements imposed by manufacturers, changes in driving habits, the types of vehicles being produced, and the ever-changing economy, it is no wonder that dealers are questioning the future of their business. Many options are available, and none are really bad, but one must figure out what is best for you, the owner.

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Buy/sells are exciting, intense, and hopefully rewarding for all parties when completed. They come with ups and downs, surprises, and different opinions. Both sides churn through their checklists, working to validate their opinion of valuation.

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Gill Automotive Group in April acquired H & J Chevrolet in Kerman, California. The single-point dealership wasn’t struggling, which most of his acquisitions are, Jay Gill tells Getting to Go! But he was compelled to buy it for one main reason – Gill lives in Kerman.

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Dealership facility upgrades are a constant point of contention between factories and dealers. Factories can impose a wide range of facility demands, ranging from light brand image or signage updating, to complete facility refurbishment, rebuild, or even relocation. Dealers view many such requests as onerous and/or unlikely to provide any boost to sales.