Sutherlin Automotive Group sold 3cdealerships in Georgia last month and reentered another Southeastern state on Monday.
Sutherlin Automotive Group, in a strategic move, sold three Georgia dealerships last month and reentered Alabama this week with an acquisition of a combined two-brand import store.
Two of the three stores sold were near Atlanta. In a LinkedIn post about the sales, Sutherlin Automotive CEO Brett Sutherlin said his business plan is to expand in single-point markets, and Atlanta “no longer fit this bill.”
Still, Sutherlin’s LinkedIn post acknowledged that there were deep family and company ties to the locations. One of the dealerships, a Nissan store in Buford, Ga., had been the group’s headquarters for over 40 years and where Sutherlin’s father, George Sutherlin, worked until he died in February 2022.
On Monday, Sutherlin Automotive bought Reinhardt Lexus-Toyota, in Montgomery, Ala., from brothers Mike Reinhardt and Ed Reinhardt, Sutherlin said.
The dealership, which features separate showrooms, was renamed Toyota-Lexus of Montgomery. Montgomery is south of Birmingham.
Sutherlin said it marks the first Lexus store for the group. It also marks a return to Toyota and Alabama, Sutherlin said. He noted the group previously owned dealerships, including Toyota, in the state prior to selling them to Republic Industries Inc. in 1996, which later became auto retail giant AutoNation Inc.
The purchase follows Sutherlin Automotive’s September acquisition of a Tennessee Subaru dealership.
Meanwhile, the Sutherlin group sold three dealerships over a two-week span in April.
The group on April 17 sold Sutherlin Nissan Cherokee County in Holly Springs, Ga., north of Atlanta, to father-and-son Mike Perrin and Chuck Perrin, Sutherlin said.
The dealership was renamed Cherokee County Nissan, he said.
Mike Sims, president of Pinnacle Mergers & Acquisitions, a Frisco, Texas, buy-sell firm, along with Wes Hamilton, executive vice president, represented Sutherlin in the Nissan dealership transaction.
On April 27, Sutherlin Automotive sold Sutherlin Nissan Mall of Georgia in Buford, northeast of Atlanta, to Steve Rayman, Sutherlin said. The dealership was renamed Steve Rayman Nissan Mall of Georgia.
Sutherlin pointed to the high concentration of Nissan dealerships in the Atlanta market as a reason for selling the two stores.
“Just less margins, more competition,” Sutherlin told Automotive News.
In addition, on April 28, Sutherlin said the group sold Sutherlin Hyundai Athens to Vernon Krause of Krause Auto Group. The store was renamed Hyundai of Athens. Athens, home to the University of Georgia, is northeast of Atlanta.
Sims and Hamilton also represented Sutherlin Automotive in the Athens transaction.
With the Georgia dealership sales, Sutherlin said his group now will be based in Montgomery.