Graham Ourisman Automotive on the hunt for more dealerships

Graham has reported an uptick in revenue and income from the dealerships, disclosing that automotive operating income was $4.5 million for the third quarter and $8.8 million for the first nine months of 2021. Third-quarter automotive revenue rose 10 percent to $84.7 million, while revenue for the first nine months of 2021 jumped 33 percent to $242.7 million.

Revenue rose because of sales growth at the then three dealerships and higher prices for vehicles amid high consumer demand and inventory shortages, Graham said.

In addition to the December acquisition, Graham Ourisman Automotive in 2021 invested in its CarCare to Go platform, a vehicle maintenance and repair pickup and delivery service.
Graham Ourisman Automotive last year also acquired the real estate for its Honda dealership in Tysons Corner from Capital Automotive. The Washington Business Journal said the $27 million deal closed in September.

Maas said the lease term was expiring and the partnership had an opportunity to buy the land. Whether to buy or lease dealership real estate will be considered on a case-by-case basis, he said.

“For that particular dealership, the right thing to do was to own that property,” he said.

The purchase of Battlefield Ford required assuming multiple leases and originating two new leases covering about a half-dozen parcels on 11 acres, making it a more complex deal, said James Mitchell of Cushman & Wakefield’s Dealership Capital Services division. He and the firm’s Erin Rice represented the store’s seller, who he described as being at retirement age.

Mitchell said they needed a buyer who “wasn’t afraid of a very complicated real estate structure with multiple leases.”

Cushman & Wakefield, which represented Sonic in its 2019 sale to the partnership, contacted Ourisman about Battlefield Ford in late summer or early fall. The deal went under contract by the end of October, and seller Fay wanted it closed by year-end for tax purposes, a feat that was accomplished, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said his firm is in the process of taking dealership platforms generating $600 million or more in annual revenue to market and will share those opportunities with Graham Ourisman Automotive.

“Their plans are to have a significant presence, certainly in the mid-Atlantic and then long term in the East Coast,” Mitchell said.

Graham views its tie-up with Ourisman as successful, Maas said.

The parties came together “with a long-term orientation and a belief that together we can build a strong automotive business,” he said, “and we still very much have that perspective today.”

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