SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission file number: 001-31262
ASBURY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of|
incorporation or organization)
|2905 Premiere Parkway NW,||Suite 300|
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Symbol(s)||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common stock, $0.01 par value per share||ABG||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer," "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large Accelerated Filer||☒|| ||Accelerated Filer||☐|
|Non-Accelerated Filer||☐||Smaller Reporting Company||☐|
|Emerging Growth Company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of
the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C.
7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No x
Based on the closing price of the registrant's common stock as of June 30, 2021, the aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $3.28 billion (based upon the assumption, solely for purposes of this computation, that all of the officers and directors of the registrant were affiliates of the registrant).
Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the registrant's classes of common stock, as of the latest practicable date: The number of shares of common stock outstanding as of February 28, 2022 was 23,187,817.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
List hereunder the following documents if incorporated by reference and the Part of the Form 10-K into which the document is incorporated:
Portions of the registrant's definitive Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, to be filed within 120 days after the end of the registrant's fiscal year, are incorporated by reference into Part III, Items 10 through 14 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
ASBURY AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, INC.
ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
FOR THE YEAR ENDED
DECEMBER 31, 2021
Certain of the discussions and information included or incorporated by reference in this report may constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical in nature and may include statements relating to our goals, plans and projections regarding industry and general economic trends, our expected financial position, results of operations or market position and our business strategy. Such statements can generally be identified by words such as "may," "target," "could," "would," "will," "should," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "intend," "foresee," and other similar words or phrases. Forward-looking statements may also relate to our expectations and assumptions with respect to, among other things:
•the seasonally adjusted annual rate of new vehicle sales in the United States;
•general economic conditions and its expected impact on our revenue and expenses;
•our expected parts and service revenue due to, among other things, improvements in vehicle technology;
•our ability to limit our exposure to regional economic downturns due to our geographic diversity and brand mix;
•manufacturers' continued use of incentive programs to drive demand for their product offerings;
•our capital allocation strategy, including as it relates to acquisitions and divestitures, stock repurchases, dividends and capital expenditures;
•our revenue growth strategy;
•the growth of the brands that comprise our portfolio over the long-term;
•disruptions in the production and supply of vehicles and parts from our vehicle and parts manufacturers and other suppliers due to any ongoing impact of the global semiconductor shortage, which can disrupt our operations;
•disruptions in our operations, the operations of our vehicle and parts manufacturers and other suppliers, vendors and business partners, and the global economy in general due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, including due to any new strains of the virus and the efficacy and rate of vaccinations; and
•our estimated future capital expenditures, which can be impacted by increasing prices, labor shortages and acquisitions and divestitures.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual future results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, but are not limited to:
•the degree to which disruptions in our operations, the operations of our vehicle and parts manufacturers and other suppliers, vendors and business partners, and the global economy in general due to any ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic may adversely impact our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows;
•the effects of increased expenses or unanticipated liabilities incurred as a result of, or due to activities related to our acquisitions or divestitures;
•changes in general economic and business conditions, including changes in employment levels, consumer confidence levels, consumer demand and preferences, the availability and cost of credit, fuel prices, levels of discretionary personal income and interest rates;
•our ability to generate sufficient cash flows, maintain our liquidity and obtain any necessary additional funds for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, stock repurchases, debt maturity payments and other corporate purposes, if necessary or desirable;
•significant disruptions in the production and delivery of vehicles and parts for any reason, including the COVID-19 pandemic, supply shortages (including semiconductor chips), natural disasters, severe weather, civil unrest, product recalls, work stoppages or other occurrences that are outside of our control;
•our ability to execute our automotive retailing and service business strategy while operating under restrictions and best practices imposed or encouraged by governmental and other regulatory authorities;
•our ability to successfully attract and retain skilled employees;
•our ability to successfully operate, including our ability to obtain and maintain all necessary regulatory approvals, for Total Care Auto, Powered by Landcar ("TCA"), our recently acquired F&I products provider;
•adverse conditions affecting the vehicle manufacturers whose brands we sell, and their ability to design, manufacture, deliver and market their vehicles successfully;
•changes in the mix and total number of vehicles we are able to sell;
•our outstanding indebtedness and our continued ability to comply with applicable covenants in our various financing and lease agreements, or to obtain waivers of these covenants as necessary;
•high levels of competition in our industry, which may create pricing and margin pressures on our products and services;
•our relationships with manufacturers of the vehicles we sell and our ability to renew, and enter into new framework and dealer agreements with vehicle manufacturers whose brands we sell, on terms acceptable to us;
•the availability of manufacturer incentive programs and our ability to earn these incentives;
•failure of our, or those of our third-party service providers, management information systems;
•any data security breaches occurring, including with regard to personally identifiable information ("PII");
•changes in laws and regulations governing the operation of automobile franchises, including trade restrictions, consumer protections, accounting standards, taxation requirements and environmental laws;
•changes in, or the imposition of, new tariffs or trade restrictions on imported vehicles or parts;
•adverse results from litigation or other similar proceedings involving us;
•our ability to consummate planned mergers, acquisitions and dispositions;
•any disruptions in the financial markets, which may impact our ability to access capital;
•our relationships with, and the financial stability of, our lenders and lessors;
•our ability to execute our initiatives and other strategies;
•our ability to leverage gains from our dealership portfolio; and
•our ability to successfully integrate businesses we may acquire, or that any business we acquire may not perform as we expected at the time we acquired it.
Many of these factors are beyond our ability to control or predict, and their ultimate impact could be material. Moreover, the factors set forth under "Item 1A. Risk Factors" and "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" below and other cautionary statements made in this report should be read and considered as forward-looking statements subject to such uncertainties. We urge you to carefully consider those factors.
Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report. We expressly disclaim any obligation to update any forward-looking statement contained herein.
Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments to such reports filed pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, are made available free of charge on our website at http://www.asburyauto.com as soon as practical after such reports are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "Commission"). In addition, the proxy statement that will be delivered to our stockholders in connection with our 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, when filed, will also be available on our website, and at the URL stated in such proxy statement. We also make available on our website copies of our certificate of incorporation, bylaws, and other materials that outline our corporate governance policies and practices, including:
•the respective charters of our audit committee, governance and nominating committee, compensation and human resources committee, and capital allocation and risk management committee;
• our criteria for independence of the members of our board of directors, audit committee, and compensation and human resources committee;
• our Corporate Governance Guidelines; and
• our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Directors, Officers, and Employees.
We intend to provide any information required by Item 5.05 of Form 8-K (relating to amendments or waivers of our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics for Directors, Officers, and Employees) by disclosure on our website.
You may also obtain a printed copy of the foregoing materials by sending a written request to: Investor Relations Department, Asbury Automotive Group, Inc., 2905 Premiere Parkway, NW, Suite 300, Duluth, Georgia 30097. In addition, the Commission makes available on its website, free of charge, reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, such as us, that file electronically with the Commission. The Commission's website is http://www.sec.gov. Unless otherwise specified, information contained on our website, available by hyperlink from our website or on the Commission's website, is not incorporated into this report or other documents we file with, or furnish to, the Commission.
Except as the context otherwise requires, "we," "our," "us," "Asbury," and "the Company" refer to Asbury Automotive Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.
Item 1. BUSINESS
Asbury Automotive Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation organized in 2002, is a Fortune 500 company and the 6th largest franchised automotive retailer in the United States. Our mission and vision is to put guest experience as our “North Star” and be the most guest-centric automotive retailer in the industry. We follow three key principles to guide us: (1) foster a fun and supportive culture where team members thrive personally, while building meaningful bonds with one another; (2) be great ambassadors and exceptional stewards of capital for our partners who fuel our mission; and (3) be caring professionals who strive to delight our guests and foster love for the brand. Our strong organizational culture and purposeful mission allows us to continuously deliver best-in-class experiences to our guests. As of December 31, 2021, we owned and operated 205 new vehicle franchises, representing 31 brands of automobiles at 155 dealership locations, 35 collision centers, seven stand-alone used vehicle dealerships, one used vehicle wholesale business and one auto auction within fifteen states. Our store operations are conducted by our subsidiaries.
We offer an extensive range of automotive products and services fulfilling the entire vehicle ownership lifecycle including new and used vehicles, parts and service, which includes vehicle repair and maintenance services, replacement parts and collision repair services (collectively referred to as “parts and services” or “P&S”), and finance and insurance (“F&I”) products, including arranging vehicle financing through third parties and aftermarket products, such as extended service contracts, guaranteed asset protection (“GAP”) debt cancellation and prepaid maintenance. We strive for a diversified mix of products, services, brands and geographic locations which allows us to reduce our reliance on any one manufacturer, minimize the impact from changes in customer preference and maintain profitability across fluctuations in new vehicle sales. Our diverse revenue base, along with our commitment to operational excellence across our dealership portfolio, provides a resilient business model and strong profit margins.
Our omni-channel platform is designed to engage with customers where and when they want to interact and to increase our market share through digital innovation. We are focused on providing a high level of customer service and have designed our dealerships’ services to meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of customers throughout the vehicle ownership lifecycle. Our digital capabilities further enhance our physical dealership network and drive additional revenue. Our ability to provide a low friction experience across our omni-channel platform drives customer satisfaction and repeat business across our dealership portfolio.
In December 2020, we introduced Clicklane, the automotive retail industry’s first, end-to-end, 100% online vehicle retail tool. This differentiated platform offers our customers an easy, seamless and transparent approach to completing the purchase or sale of vehicles completely online inclusive of all documentation, loan origination and everything in between. We believe the Clicklane tool will further enhance our physical dealership network and creates a sustainable competitive advantage as the vehicle buying process evolves in a digital environment.
Larry H. Miller Acquisition
On September 28, 2021, Asbury Automotive Group, LLC (“Purchaser”), a Delaware limited liability company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Asbury Automotive Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), entered into (i) a Purchase Agreement (the “Equity Purchase Agreement”) with certain members of the Larry H. Miller Dealership family of entities; (ii) a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement (the “Real Estate Purchase Agreement”) with Miller Family Real Estate, L.L.C. and (iii) a Purchase Agreement (the “TCA Purchase Agreement” and together with the Equity Purchase Agreement and the Real Estate Purchase Agreement, the “Transaction Agreements”) with certain equity owners of the TCA business (an F&I product provider) affiliated with the Larry H. Miller Dealership family of entities. Pursuant to the Transaction Agreements, Purchaser acquired the equity interests of, and the real property related to (collectively, the “Transactions”), the businesses of the Larry H. Miller ("LHM") Dealerships and TCA (collectively, the “Businesses”), each described in the Equity Purchase Agreement, the Real Estate Purchase Agreement and the TCA Purchase Agreement, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.48 billion, comprising approximately $2.51 billion of goodwill and franchise rights intangible assets, $792.6 million of property and equipment, and $285.0 million in inventories less $105.6 million of liabilities assumed, net of other assets acquired.
On December 17, 2021, the Company completed the acquisition of the Businesses, thereby acquiring 54 new vehicle dealerships, seven used cars stores, 11 collision centers, a used vehicle wholesale business, the real property related thereto, and the entities comprising the TCA Business for a total purchase price of $3.48 billion. The real property was acquired in escrow, to be released, together with the related portion of the purchase price, subject to the satisfaction of certain title related conditions. The purchase price was financed through a combination of cash, debt, including senior notes, real estate facilities, new and used vehicle floor plan facilities and the proceeds from the issuance of common stock.
As a result of the Transactions, the Company now operates in two reportable segments, namely the Dealerships and TCA segments.
In addition to the LHM Acquisition, during the year ended December 31, 2021, we acquired the assets of 11 franchises (10 dealership locations) in in the Denver, Colorado market and three franchises (one dealership location) in the Indianapolis, Indiana market for a combined purchase price of $485.7 million. We funded this acquisition with an aggregate of $455.1 million of cash and $9.6 million of floor plan borrowings for the purchase of the related new vehicle inventory. In the aggregate, this acquisition included purchase price holdbacks of $21.0 million for potential indemnity claims made by us with respect to the acquired franchises.
The following charts present the contribution to total revenue and gross profit by each line of business for the year ended December 31, 2021:
Our new vehicle franchise retail network within our Dealerships segment is made up of dealerships located in fifteen states operating primarily under 15 locally-branded dealership groups. The following chart provides a detailed breakdown of our states, brand names, and franchises as of December 31, 2021:
|Dealership Group Brand Name||State||Franchise|
|Coggin Automotive Group||Florida||Acura, BMW, Buick, Chevrolet, Ford(a), GMC, Honda(d), Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan(a), Toyota|
|Courtesy Autogroup||Florida||Chrysler, Dodge, Genesis, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Sprinter, Toyota|
|Crown Automotive Company||North Carolina||Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge(a), Ford, Honda(a), Jeep, Nissan, Volvo|
|Virginia||Acura, BMW(a), MINI|
|David McDavid Auto Group||Texas||Acura(a), Ford, Honda(a), Lincoln|
|Greenville Automotive Group||South Carolina||Jaguar, Land Rover, Porsche, Toyota, Volvo|
|Hare, Bill Estes & Kahlo Automotive Groups||Indiana||Buick, Chevrolet(b), Chrysler(a), Dodge(a), Ford, GMC, Honda, Isuzu, Jeep(a), Toyota|
|Larry H. Miller Dealerships||Arizona||Chrysler(b), Dodge(c), Fiat, Ford, Genesis, Hyundai, Jeep(b), Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen(a)|
|Colorado||Chrysler(a), Dodge(b), Fiat, Ford, Jeep(a), Nissan(b), Toyota(b), Volkswagen|
|Idaho||Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Jeep, Subaru|
|New Mexico||Chevrolet, Chrysler(a), Dodge, Genesis, Hyundai(a), Jeep(a), Toyota(a)|
|Utah||Chevrolet(a), Chrysler(c), Dodge(c), Ford(b), Honda, Jeep(c), Lexus(a), Lincoln(a), Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Sprinter|
|Washington||Honda, Lexus, Toyota|
|Mike Shaw, Stevinson & Arapahoe Automotive Groups||Colorado||Subaru(a), Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Genesis, Hyundai(a), Jaguar, Jeep, Lexus(a), Porsche, Toyota(a)|
|Nalley Automotive Group||Georgia||Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti(a), Kia, Lexus(a), Nissan, Toyota(b), Volkswagen|
|Park Place Automotive||Texas||Jaguar, Lexus(a), Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz(b), Porsche, Volvo, Sprinter(b)|
|Plaza Motor Company||Missouri||Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz(a), Sprinter(a)|
(a)This state has two of these franchises.
(b)This state has three of these franchises.
(c)This state has four of these franchises.
(d)This state has five of these franchises.
New Vehicle Sales
The following table reflects the number of franchises we owned as of December 31, 2021 and the percentage of new vehicle revenues represented by class and franchise for the year ended December 31, 2021:
|% of New|
|Lexus||10 ||12 ||%|
|Mercedes-Benz||8 ||12 |
|Acura||6 ||4 |
|BMW||6 ||5 |
|Infiniti||4 ||1 |
|Land Rover||3 ||2 |
|Lincoln||3 ||1 |
|Porsche||3 ||2 |
|Volvo||3 ||2 |
|Audi||2 ||2 |
|Bentley||1 ||1 |
|Total Luxury||57 ||44 ||%|
|Toyota||19 ||12 ||%|
|Honda||15 ||15 |
|Nissan||10 ||4 |
|Hyundai||8 ||3 |
|Sprinter||7 ||1 |
|Volkswagen||4 ||1 |
|Subaru||3 ||1 |
|Kia||2 ||2 |
|Total Import||72 ||39 ||%|
|Dodge||19 ||4 ||%|
|Jeep||17 ||2 |
|Ford||10 ||6 |
|Chevrolet||9 ||4 |
|GMC||2 ||1 |
|Total Domestic||76 ||17 ||%|
|Total Franchises||205 ||100 ||%|
* Franchise accounted for less than 1% of new vehicle revenues for the year ended December 31, 2021.
Our new vehicle revenues include new vehicle sales and lease transactions arranged by our dealerships with third-party financial institutions. We believe that leasing provides a number of benefits to our other business lines, including the historical customer loyalty to the leasing dealership for repairs and maintenance services and the fact that lessors typically give the leasing dealership the first option to purchase the off-lease vehicle.
Used Vehicle Sales
We sell used vehicles at all our franchised dealership locations, seven stand-alone used vehicle dealerships, one used vehicle wholesale business and one auto auction. Used vehicle sales include the sale of used vehicles to individual retail customers ("used retail") and the sale of used vehicles to other dealers at auction ("wholesale") (the terms "used retail" and "wholesale" collectively referred to as "used").
Gross profit from the sale of used vehicles depends primarily on our dealerships' ability to obtain a high quality supply of used vehicles and our use of technology to manage our inventory. Our new vehicle operations typically provide our used vehicle operations with a large supply of trade-ins and off-lease vehicles, which we believe are good sources of high quality used vehicles. We also purchase a portion of our used vehicle inventory at "open" auctions and auctions restricted to new vehicle dealers. Additionally, our used vehicle sales benefit from our ability to sell certified pre-owned vehicles from our franchised dealerships.
Parts and Service
We provide vehicle repair and maintenance services, sell replacement parts, and recondition used vehicles at all of our dealerships. In addition, we provide collision repair services at our 35 free-standing collision repair centers that we operate either on the premises of, or in close proximity to, our dealerships. Historically, parts and service revenues have been more stable than those from vehicle sales. Industry-wide, parts and service revenues have consistently increased over time primarily due to the increased cost of maintaining vehicles, the added technical complexity of vehicles, and the increasing number of vehicles on the road.
The automotive parts and service industry tends to be highly fragmented, with franchised dealerships and independent repair shops competing for this business. We believe, however, that the increased use of advanced technology in vehicles is making it difficult for independent repair shops to compete effectively with franchised dealerships as they may not be able to make the investment necessary to perform major or technical repairs. In an effort to maintain the necessary knowledge to service vehicles and further develop our technician staff, we focus on our internal and manufacturer specific training and development programs for new and existing technicians. We believe our parts and service business is also well-positioned to benefit from the service work potentially generated through the sale of extended service contracts to customers who purchase new and used vehicles from us, as historically these customers tend to have their vehicles serviced at the location where they purchased the extended service contract. In addition, our franchised dealerships benefit from manufacturer policies requiring that warranty and recall related repairs be performed at a franchised dealership. We believe our collision repair centers provide us with an attractive opportunity to grow our business due to the high margins provided by collision repair services and the fact we are able to source original equipment manufacturer parts from our franchised dealerships.
Finance and Insurance
We offer a wide variety of automotive F&I products to our customers. Through the addition of the TCA Business in December 2021, we offer extended vehicle service contracts, prepaid maintenance contracts, vehicle theft assistance contracts, key replacement contracts, guaranteed asset protection contracts, paintless dent repair contracts, appearance protection contracts, tire and wheel, DrivePur vehicle sanitation product, and lease wear and tear contracts. These F&I products are sold to our customers via our network of recently acquired LHM Dealerships.
In addition to the TCA F&I products, we also arrange third-party financing for the sale or lease of vehicles to our customers in exchange for compensation paid to us by the third-party financial institution. We do not directly finance our customers' vehicle purchases or leases, therefore our exposure to losses in connection with those third-party financing arrangements is limited generally to the compensation we receive. The compensation we receive is subject to chargeback, or repayment, to the third-party finance company if a customer defaults or prepays the retail installment contract typically during some limited time period at the beginning of the contract term. We have negotiated agreements with certain lenders pursuant to which we receive additional compensation upon reaching a certain volume of business.
We offer our customers a variety of vehicle protection products through independent third parties in connection with the purchase of vehicles . These products are underwritten and administered by these third parties. Under our arrangements with the providers of these products, we primarily sell the products on a straight commission basis. We are subject to chargebacks for service and other contracts as a result of early termination, default, or prepayment of the contract. In addition, we participate in future profits associated with the performance of the third-party held underlying portfolio for certain products pursuant to retrospective commission arrangements.
The following is a brief description of some of the vehicle protection products we offer to our customers, either through TCA or independent third parties:
•Extended service contracts – covers certain repair work after the expiration of the manufacturer warranty;
•GAP debt cancellation – covers the customer after a total loss for the difference between the value of the vehicle and the outstanding loan or lease obligation after insurance proceeds;
•Prepaid maintenance – covers certain routine maintenance work, such as oil changes, cleaning and adjusting of brakes, multi-point vehicle inspections, and tire rotations; and
•Road hazard protection - repairs or replaces tires damaged by road hazards, road surface conditions such as potholes, cracks and breaks, and debris on the road surface.
F&I Revenue in our Dealerships segment represents the commissions earned from both TCA and independent third parties related to a broad range of F&I products. This F&I Revenue is presented net of chargebacks. The commission fees, net of chargebacks received by our dealerships from TCA, are eliminated upon consolidation along with other inter-company transactions.
F&I Revenue in our TCA segment represents the premium revenue earned from customers related to F&I products in connection with the purchase of vehicles, primarily at LHM Business dealerships. In addition, F&I Revenue includes investment income and other gains and losses related to the performance of our investment portfolio. The commissions expense paid by TCA to our affiliated dealerships is presented in F&I Cost of Sales in our TCA segment and eliminated upon consolidation along with other inter-company transactions. In addition to the commissions paid to the dealerships, claims paid related to the contracts are recognized in F&I cost of sales as well. The premium revenue and cost of sales is recognized over the life of the F&I product contract.
We seek to be the most guest-centric automotive retailer and to create long-term value for our stockholders by striving to drive operational excellence and deploy capital to its highest risk adjusted returns. To achieve these objectives, we employ the strategies described below.
Provide an exceptional customer experience in our stores.
We are guided by our mission and vision to be the most guest-centric automotive retailer in the industry and use that framework as our North Star. We have designed our dealerships’ services to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and demanding automotive consumer. We endeavor to establish relationships that we believe will result in both repeat business and additional business through customer referrals. Furthermore, we provide our dealership managers with appropriate incentives to employ efficient selling approaches, engage in extensive follow-up to develop long-term relationships with customers, and extensively train our sales staff to meet customer needs.
Further develop digital and omni-channel capabilities and drive Clicklane penetration across our coast-to-coast footprint.
As part of our omni-channel strategy, we implemented Clicklane, the automotive retail industry’s first, end-to-end, 100% online vehicle retail tool, which offers our customers a convenient, seamless and transparent approach to purchase and sell vehicles completely online. Our Clicklane platform provides our customers with the ability to (i) select a new or used vehicle for lease or purchase, (ii) arrange for and obtain financing from a variety of lenders, (iii) obtain an offer on their trade-in vehicle, (iv) obtain an exact pay-off amount on any existing loan on a trade-in vehicle, (v) select and purchase F&I products designed for the customer’s vehicle and then (vi) complete the vehicle purchase and financing or lease by signing the transaction documents and scheduling in-store pickup or home delivery, with each step performed entirely online. We implemented Clicklane across all of our legacy stores by the end of the first quarter of 2021. The 2021 acquisitions further extend our footprint across seven western U.S. states including Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Washington. We intend to implement Clicklane across these new stores to further solidify the national reach of our Clicklane platform and drive additional revenue.
Although we developed our Clicklane platform together with a third-party vendor, certain technology elements of the platform were developed solely by us and are subject to trade secret protection. In addition, our other omni-channel tools offer our customers the ability to arrange vehicle service appointments, receive service updates, and pay for maintenance and repair services online. We continue to invest in and develop omni-channel initiatives designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience.
Grow F&I product penetration and expand the TCA Business’s service offerings across the full dealership portfolio.
We are positioned to leverage the acquisition of the LHM Dealership Business to improve profitability via the ownership of TCA, a highly-scalable provider of a full-suite of F&I products. TCA’s key offerings include vehicle service contracts, prepaid maintenance, protection plans, key and remote replacement, leased vehicle protection and tire and wheel protection. We aim to integrate TCA’s service offerings across our full dealership portfolio to increase our F&I product penetration and profitability.
Attract, retain and invest in top talent to drive growth and optimize operations.
We believe the core of our business success lies in our talent pool, so we are focused on attracting, hiring and retaining the best people. We also invest in resources to train and develop our employees. Our executive management team has extensive experience in the auto retail sector, and is able to leverage experience from all positions throughout the Company. In addition, we believe that local management of dealership operations enables our retail network to provide market specific responses to sales, customer service and inventory requirements. The general manager of each of our dealerships is responsible for the operations, personnel and financial performance of that dealership as well as other day-to-day operations.
Leverage scale and cost structure to improve operating efficiencies.
We are positioned to leverage our significant scale so that we are able to achieve competitive operating margins by centralizing and streamlining various back-office functions. We are able to improve financial controls and lower servicing costs by maintaining key store-level accounting and administrative activities in our shared service centers, and we leverage our scale to reduce costs related to purchasing certain equipment, supplies, and services through national vendor relationships. Similarly, we are able to leverage our scale to implement these best practices when integrating newly acquired dealerships allowing us to continue to improve our operating efficiencies.
Deploy capital to highest returns and continue to invest in the business.
Our capital allocation decisions are made within the context of maintaining sufficient liquidity and a prudent capital structure. We target a 3.0x net leverage ratio, and our primary focus for capital allocation will be to decrease our debt levels; however, we believe our cash position and borrowing capacity, combined with our current and expected future cash generation capability, provides us with financial flexibility to, among other things, reinvest in our business, acquire dealerships and repurchase our stock, when prudent.
We continually evaluate our existing dealership network and seek to make strategic investments that will increase the capacity of our dealerships and improve the customer experience. In addition, we continue to execute on our strategy of selectively acquiring our leased properties where financing rates make it attractive to be an owner and provide us a further means to finance our business.
Evaluate opportunities to refine the dealership portfolio.
We continually evaluate the financial and operating results of our dealerships, as well as each dealership’s geographical location and, based on various financial and strategic rationales, may make decisions to dispose of dealerships to refine our dealership and real estate portfolio. We also evaluate dealership acquisition opportunities based on market position and geography, brand representation and availability, key personnel and other factors. Our approach to dispositions and acquisitions is highly disciplined with a focus on long-term strategic value to stockholders.
Execute our five-year strategic plan to target an increase in our annual revenue to $20 billion by 2025.
We continually evaluate additional opportunities to drive revenue growth while maintaining our disciplined approach to capital allocation. In December 2020, we announced our five-year strategic plan, targeting an increase in our revenue to $20 billion by 2025. We intend to execute on this strategic plan by focusing on a variety of growth efforts including, driving same-store revenue growth, acquiring additional revenue through strategic acquisitions and adding incremental revenue through our Clicklane platform. During 2021, we exceeded our five-year plan target for acquisitions with the purchase of $6.6 billion in acquired revenue and made significant progress on our same store and Clicklane targets and will provide an update to our five-year plan in 2022.
The automotive retail and service industry is highly competitive with respect to price, service, location, and selection. For new vehicle sales, our dealerships compete with other franchised dealerships, primarily in their regions. Our new vehicle store competitors also have franchise agreements with the various vehicle manufacturers, and as such, generally obtain new vehicle inventory from vehicle manufacturers on the same terms as us. The franchise agreements grant the franchised dealership a non-exclusive right to sell the manufacturer's (or distributor's) brand of vehicles and offer related parts and service within a specified
market area. State automotive franchise laws restrict competitors from relocating their stores or establishing new stores of a particular vehicle brand within a specified area that is served by our dealership of the same vehicle brand. Recently, certain electric vehicle manufacturers have been permitted to circumvent the state automotive franchise laws of several states in the United States thereby permitting them to sell their new vehicles directly to consumers. We rely on our advertising and merchandising, sales expertise, service reputation, strong local branding, and location of our dealerships to assist in the sale of new vehicles.
Our used vehicle operations compete with other franchised dealerships, non-franchised automotive dealerships, regional and national vehicle rental companies, and internet-based vehicle brokers for the supply and resale of used vehicles.
We compete with other franchised dealerships to perform warranty and recall-related repairs and with other franchised dealerships and independent service centers for non-warranty repair and maintenance services. We compete with other automobile dealers, service stores, and auto parts retailers in our parts operations. We believe that we have a competitive advantage in parts and service sales due to our ability to use factory-approved replacement parts, our skilled manufacturer trained and certified technicians, our competitive prices, our familiarity with manufacturer brands and models, and the quality of our customer service.
We compete with a broad range of financial institutions in arranging financing for our customers vehicle purchases. In addition, many financial institutions are now offering F&I products through the internet, which has increased competition and may reduce our profits on certain of these items. We believe the principal competitive factors in providing financing are convenience, interest rates, and flexibility in contract length.
The automobile industry has historically been subject to seasonal variations. Demand for new vehicles is generally highest during the second, third, and fourth quarters of each year and, accordingly, we expect our revenues and operating results to generally be higher during these periods. In addition, we typically experience higher sales of luxury vehicles which have higher average selling prices and gross profit per vehicle retailed in the fourth quarter. Revenues and operating results may be impacted significantly from quarter to quarter by changing economic conditions, vehicle manufacturer incentive programs, or adverse weather events.
Dealer and Framework Agreements
Each of our dealerships operate pursuant to a dealer agreement between the dealership and the manufacturer (or in some cases the distributor) of each brand of new vehicles sold and/or serviced at the dealership. The dealer agreements grant the franchised dealership a non-exclusive right to sell the manufacturer's (or distributor's) brand of vehicles and offer related parts and service within a specified market area. Each dealer agreement also grants our dealerships the right to use the manufacturer's trademarks and service marks in connection with the dealerships operations and they also impose numerous operational requirements related to, among other things, the following:
•inventories of new vehicles and manufacturer replacement parts;
•maintenance of minimum net working capital requirements, and in some cases, minimum net worth requirements;
•achievement of certain sales and customer satisfaction targets;
•advertising and marketing practices;
•facilities and signs;
•products offered to customers;
•geographic market, including but not limited to requirements to meet sales and service targets within an assigned market area, geographic limitations on where the dealership may locate or advertise, and restrictions on the export of vehicles; and
•dealership monthly and annual financial reporting.
Our dealer agreements are for various terms, ranging from one year to indefinite. We expect that we will be able to renew expiring agreements in the ordinary course of business. However, typical dealer agreements give the manufacturer the right to terminate or the option of non-renewal of the dealer agreement under certain circumstances, subject to applicable state automotive dealership franchise laws, including:
•insolvency or bankruptcy of the dealership;
•failure to adequately operate the dealership or to maintain required capitalization levels;
•impairment of the reputation or financial condition of the dealership;
•change of ownership or management of the dealership without manufacturer consent;
•certain extraordinary corporate transactions such as a merger or sale of all or substantially all of our assets without manufacturer consent;
•failure to complete facility upgrades required by the manufacturer or agreed to by the dealer;
•failure to maintain any license, permits or authorization required to conduct the dealership's business;
•conviction of a dealer/manager or owner for certain crimes; or
•material breach of other provisions of a dealer agreement.
Notwithstanding the terms of any dealer agreement, the states in which we operate have automotive dealership franchise laws which provide that it is unlawful for a manufacturer to terminate or not renew a franchise unless "good cause" exists.
In addition to requirements under dealer agreements, we are subject to provisions contained in supplemental agreements, framework agreements, dealer addenda and manufacturers' policies, collectively referred to as "framework agreements." Framework agreements impose requirements on us in addition to those described above. Such agreements also define other standards and limitations, including:
•company-wide performance criteria;
•limitations on changes in our ownership or management;
•limitations on the number of a particular manufacturer's franchises owned by us;
•restrictions or prohibitions on our ability to pledge the stock of certain of our subsidiaries; and
•conditions for consent to proposed acquisitions, including sales and customer satisfaction criteria, as well as limitations on the total local, regional, and national market share percentage that would be represented by a particular manufacturer's franchises owned by us after giving effect to a proposed acquisition.
Some dealer agreements and framework agreements grant the manufacturer the right to terminate or not renew our dealer and framework agreements, or to compel us to divest our dealerships, for a number of reasons, including default under the agreement, any unapproved change of control (specific changes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but which include material changes in the composition of our Board of Directors during a specified time period, the acquisition of 5% or more of our voting stock by another vehicle manufacturer or distributor, the acquisition of 20% or more of our voting stock by third parties, and the acquisition of an ownership interest sufficient to direct or influence management and policies), or certain other unapproved events (including certain extraordinary corporate transactions such as a merger or sale of all or substantially all of our assets). Triggers of the clauses are often based upon actions by our stockholders and are generally outside of our control. Some of our dealer agreements and framework agreements also give the manufacturer a right of first refusal if we propose to sell any dealership representing the manufacturer's brands to a third-party. These agreements may also attempt to limit the protections available under applicable state laws and require us to resolve disputes through binding arbitration. For additional information, please refer to the risk factor captioned "We are dependent upon our relationships with the manufacturers of vehicles that we sell and are subject to restrictions imposed by, and significant influence from, these vehicle manufacturers. Any of these restrictions or any changes or deterioration of these relationships could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows."
Our framework agreements with certain manufacturers contain provisions that, among other things, attempt to limit the protections available to dealers under these laws. If these laws are repealed in the states in which we operate, manufacturers may be able to terminate our franchises without providing us with advance notice, an opportunity to cure or a showing of good cause. Without the protection of these laws, it may also be more difficult for us to renew our dealer agreements upon expiration.
Changes in laws that provide manufacturers the ability to terminate our dealer agreements could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, if a manufacturer seeks protection from creditors in bankruptcy, courts have held that the federal bankruptcy laws may supersede these laws, resulting in either the termination, non-renewal or rejection of franchises by such manufacturers, which, in turn, could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations. For additional information, please refer to the risk factor captioned "If state laws that protect automotive retailers are repealed, weakened, or superseded by our framework agreements with manufacturers, our dealerships will be more susceptible to termination, non-renewal or renegotiation of their dealer agreements which could have a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations."
We operate in a highly regulated industry. In every state in which we operate, we must obtain one or more licenses issued by state regulatory authorities in order to operate our business. In addition, we are subject to numerous complex federal, state, and local laws regulating the conduct of our business, including those relating to our sales, operations, finance and insurance, marketing, and employment practices. These laws and regulations include state franchise laws and regulations, product standards and recalls, consumer protection laws, privacy and data security laws, anti-money laundering laws, and other extensive laws and regulations applicable to new and used motor vehicle dealers. These laws also include federal and state wage and hour, anti-discrimination, and other laws governing employment practices.
The Federal Trade Commission has regulatory authority over automotive dealers and has implemented enforcement initiatives relating to the marketing practices of automotive dealers. Our operations are also subject to the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and other product standards promulgated by the United States Department of Transportation, and the rules and regulations of various state motor vehicle regulatory agencies.
Our financing activities with customers are subject to federal truth-in-lending, consumer leasing, and equal credit opportunity laws and regulations, as well as state and local motor vehicle finance laws, leasing laws, installment finance laws, usury laws, and other installment state and leasing laws and regulations. Some U.S. states regulate fees and charges that may be collected as a result of vehicle sales and service. Claims arising out of actual or alleged violations of law may be asserted against us or our stores by individuals or governmental entities and may expose us to significant damages, fines or other penalties, including revocation or suspension of our license to conduct store operations. Our financing activities, as well as our sale of finance and insurance products, may also be impacted indirectly by laws and regulations that govern automotive finance companies and other financial institutions, including regulations adopted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the "CFPB").
For additional information, please refer to the risk factor captioned "Our operations are subject to extensive governmental laws and regulations. If we are found to be in purported violation of or subject to liabilities under any of these laws or regulations, or if new laws or regulations are enacted that adversely affect our operations, our business, our reputation, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects could suffer."
Environmental, Health and Safety Laws and Regulations
We are subject to a wide range of environmental laws and regulations, including those governing discharges into water, air emissions, storage of petroleum substances and chemicals, handling and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, remediation of various types of contamination, and otherwise relating to health, safety and protection of the environment. For example and without creating an exhaustive list: as with automobile dealerships generally, and service and parts and collision repair center operations in particular, our business involves the generation, use, handling, and disposal of hazardous or toxic substances and wastes and the use of above ground and underground storage tanks (ASTs and USTs). Operations involving the management of wastes and the use of ASTs and USTs are subject to requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, analogous state statutes, and their implementing regulations. Pursuant to these laws, federal and state environmental agencies have established approved methods for handling, storing, treating, transporting, and disposing of regulated substances and wastes with which we must comply. We also are subject to laws and regulations governing responses to any releases of contamination at or from our facilities or at facilities that receive our hazardous wastes for treatment or disposal. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA") and similar state statutes, can impose strict and joint and several liability for cleanup costs on those that are considered to have contributed to the release of a "hazardous substance." We also are subject to the Clean Water Act, analogous state statutes, and their implementing regulations which, among other things, prohibit discharges of pollutants into regulated waters without permits, require containment of potential discharges of oil or hazardous substances, and require preparation of spill contingency plans.
In response to the COVID-19 global pandemic, various federal agencies issued mandates and recommendations intended to minimize the spread of infectious disease; similar mandates and recommendations have been issued by several state and local governments where we conduct business. Currently, we are not aware of any non-compliance with these or any other environmental requirements applicable to our operations, nor are we aware of any material remedial liabilities to which we are subject.
We have incurred, and will continue to incur, costs and capital expenditures to comply with these laws and regulations. We believe that our operations currently are being conducted in substantial compliance with all applicable regulations. From time to time, we may experience incidents and encounter conditions that are not in compliance with regulations. We may occasionally receive notices from governmental agencies regarding potential violations of these laws or regulations. In such cases, we will work with the agencies to address any issues and to implement appropriate corrective action when necessary. However, none of our dealerships have been subject to any material liabilities in the past, nor do we know of any fact or condition that would result in any material liabilities being incurred in the future.
Mission and Vision
At Asbury, our North Star and our mission is to be the most guest-centric automotive retailer. Our success depends on our employees and their commitment to delivering a consistent and exceptional guest experience. Our employees work at locations in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Idaho, Utah, Washington and Virginia. We believe that our employees help to set us apart from our competitors, and, therefore, we understand they are our greatest asset. As a result, a critical part of our business strategy is investing in supporting and developing our employees so that they are trained and incentivized to provide best-in-class service to our guests.
As of December 31, 2021, we employed approximately 14,200 full-time and part-time employees, none of whom were covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe we have good relations with our employees.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We strive to recruit new employees based on their diversity of thought, background and experience as well as diversity of personal characteristics to best reflect our guests and communities we serve.
With the help and guidance of an outside consulting firm, we developed a diversity, equity and inclusion ("DE&I") initiative and launched a company-wide effort in November 2020 to identify our strengths and areas of opportunity related to our DE&I initiative. The goal of our DE&I initiative is to create more welcoming and inclusive workplaces throughout our dealerships and offices to enable us to attract, retain and develop the careers of diverse, highly-talented team members.
Since launching our DE&I Initiative, we have surveyed our employees about their dealership and support center cultures. Our general managers and site leaders have taken those survey findings and built action plans with their teams to enhance DE&I at their stores and across Asbury. With the themes from the surveys and action plans, our DE&I Collaborative teams provided recommendations to our executive team on programs and processes that Asbury can implement to improve DE&I at our company. One of these suggestions we will implement is the designation of a DE&I Officer who will be dedicated to the strategy and development of our programs. We will continue to learn and develop - working towards building a workplace where every Asbury team member feels included and welcomed.
Through our Asbury Cares program, we support selected community partner organizations to focus on reducing social inequality. In 2021, to ensure widespread support for our outreach program, we awarded all of our employees with an additional 40 hours of paid time off per year that can only be used to volunteer with our local community partners.
A big portion of our Asbury Cares Community Initiative revolves around education and making sure that young people in underserved communities have access to a quality education. We formed a partnership with HBCU Change, an app-based organization that lets users round up their spending and donate to historical black colleges and universities ("HBCU"). We learned that many HBCUs historically lag in funding and resources compared to other public or private universities and many have closed their doors in recent years. Many of our Asbury team members are proud HBCU alumni and these institutions provide a unique community of support and understanding for not only African-American students, but students of all races and backgrounds.
In partnership with HBCU Change, we launched a campaign to help raise funds for HBCUs across the country and in the local communities where we operate. All the point-of-sale credit card machines in all our locations show a prompt asking our
guests if they would like to round up their change or donate $1, $3, $5, or a custom amount to HBCUs in their communities. At the end of each quarter, the funds raised are donated to the HBCUs across the country.
Recruitment and Talent Development
When recruiting for open positions, we search for people of varying backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences in order to support a diverse and inclusive culture. We also partner with local colleges and trade schools to develop apprenticeship and internship programs. This allows us to help provide valuable training to entry-level candidates while also growing our pipeline.
Our goal is to promote employees from within to career growth opportunities whenever possible. We invest resources to train and develop our employees to reach their career goals. In 2021, a group of high performing store employees collaborated to build a training curriculum for all store positions to be launched in 2022. In addition, we offer our employees access to an online career path tool, which helps them plan their desired career path and see the required performance goals and milestones to be considered for a promotion. Our fixed operations organization encourages technicians to obtain and maintain certification status with our vehicle manufacturers, and in most cases, our dealership pays for the training. Our employees also attend vehicle manufacturer-sponsored and industry training events.
We pride ourselves on rewarding and developing talented and tenured employees.
Compensation and Benefits
We offer competitive compensation and benefits to attract and retain the best people, including the following benefits for our full-time employees:
Health, dental, and vision benefits
•Choice of multiple health, dental and vision plans;
•Discount for biometric screening and completion of health survey; and
•Employee assistance program.
Saving and retirement
•Holiday match; and
Paid time off
•Up to 4 weeks paid time off;
•Paid pregnancy leave; and
•Paid parental leave.
Disability and accident insurance
•Short term disability and long term disability insurance;
•Accident insurance, hospital indemnity, employee critical illness insurance;
•Employer paid life insurance; and
•Supplemental life insurance.
Scholarships for education
•Annual scholarship program.
Broad employee equity ownership
•We also lead the industry by offering equity awards to frontline employees because we want them to be owners of our Company and committed to our long-term success.
Health and Safety; Proactive Covid-19 Actions
The health and safety of our employees and guests is of the utmost importance. In 2020 and continuing into 2021, Asbury implemented the following actions:
•Mandatory mask-wearing for employees, guests and vendors in all locations;
•Personal protective equipment such as steering wheel covers and seat covers for guest cars in for service;
•Additional hand sanitizing stations at our dealerships and offices;
•Remote work arrangements offered where appropriate;
•Guaranteed pay to commissioned employees; and
•Free health benefits for furloughed employees.
Due to the inherent risk in the automotive retail industry, our operations expose us to a variety of liabilities. These risks generally require significant levels of insurance covering liabilities such as claims from employees, customers, or other third parties, for personal injury and property-related losses occurring in the course of our operations. We may be subject to fines and civil and criminal penalties in connection with alleged violations of federal and state laws or regulatory environments. Further, the automobile retail industry is subject to substantial risk of real and personal property loss, due to the significant concentration of property values located at the various dealership locations.
Under our self-insurance programs, including property and casualty, workers’ compensation, and medical, the Company retains various levels of aggregate loss limits and per-claim deductibles. In addition, the Company maintains separate insurance policies to address potential cyber and directors and officers exposures. We are self-insured for certain employee medical claims and maintain stop-loss insurance for individual claims.
Provisions for retained losses and deductibles are made by charges to expense based upon periodic evaluations of the estimated ultimate liabilities on reported and unreported claims. The insurance companies that underwrite our insurance require we secure certain of our obligations for deductible reimbursements with collateral. Our collateral requirements are set by the insurance companies and, to date, have been satisfied by posting surety bonds, letters of credit, and/or cash deposits. Our collateral requirements may change from time-to-time based on, among other things, our claims experience.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
In addition to the other information contained, referred to or incorporated by reference into this report, you should consider carefully the following factors when evaluating our business and before making an investment decision. Our business, operations, ability to implement our strategy, reputation, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, and prospects may be materially adversely affected by the risks described below. In addition, other risks or uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently do not deem material could arise, any of which could also materially adversely affect us.
Risks Related to Our Business
Disruptions in the production and delivery of new vehicles and parts from manufacturers due to the lack of availability of parts and key components from suppliers, such as semiconductor chips and other component parts and supplies, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Historically, we have generated a significant portion of our revenue through new vehicle sales, and new vehicle sales also tend to lead to sales of higher-margin products and services, such as F&I products and vehicle-related parts and service. In addition, new vehicle buyers often trade in an owned vehicle, or turn in a leased vehicle, to us at the time of purchase, and these traded vehicles have historically been an important source for our used vehicle inventory. We rely exclusively on the various vehicle manufacturers for our new vehicle inventory and maintenance and replacement parts inventory. As a result, our profitability is dependent to a great extent on various aspects of vehicle manufacturers’ operations and timely delivery of new vehicles and parts.
Certain vehicle manufacturers have suspended or slowed production of new vehicles, parts and other supplies due to significant shortages of semiconductors, parts and other key components. These production delays have negatively impacted our new vehicle and parts inventory levels, with parts shortages in turn adversely impacting our service and collision repair business. The shortage of new vehicle inventory has increased market demand for, and pricing of, used vehicles raising both revenue and gross profit per used vehicle retailed, but also has increased our costs of acquiring used vehicle inventory. Any prolonged severe shortages or unavailability of new vehicle inventory could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows. In addition, the abatement of the global supply chain issues relating to semiconductor chips, parts and other key components may lead to an increase in the supply of new vehicles, which could have a material adverse effect on the levels of profitability on both new and used vehicles. We cannot predict with any certainty how long the automotive retail industry will continue to be subject to these shortages or when normalized production will resume at these manufacturers.
The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) global pandemic had, and may continue to have, a material impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has negatively impacted the global economy, disrupted consumer spending and global supply chains, and created significant volatility and disruption of financial markets. We expect the COVID-19 global pandemic may continue to have an adverse impact on our business, our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity. The extent of the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on our business, such as our ability to execute our near-term and long-term business strategies and initiatives in the expected time frame, will depend on uncertain and unpredictable future developments, including the duration and scope of the pandemic.
Any significant reduction in consumer visits to, or spending at, our dealerships caused by COVID-19, would result in a loss of sales and profits and other material adverse effects. Voluntary or mandatory self-quarantine or "shelter-in-place" measures may reduce customer visits to our dealerships. We also expect consumer fears about contracting the virus to continue, which may further reduce traffic to our dealerships. Consumer spending generally may also be negatively impacted by general macroeconomic conditions and consumer confidence, including the impacts of any recession, resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has at times resulted in employee furloughs and increased unemployment across the United States, thereby reducing consumer demand for our products and services, as well as the number of consumers who qualify for an extension of credit for a vehicle purchase or a lease, either on favorable terms or at all. All of these factors, if continuing, may negatively impact sales and profitability.
Our profitability is, to a great extent, dependent on various aspects of vehicle manufacturers' operations. As a result of significant shortages of semiconductors, parts and key components, certain vehicle manufacturers have ceased or slowed production of new vehicles. We cannot predict with any certainty how long these production slowdowns in the automotive retail industry will persist and when normalized production will resume at these manufacturers. This disruption in our supply network has negatively impacted, and will continue to impact, our ability to maintain a desirable mix of popular new vehicles
and parts that consumers demand at the time and in the volumes desired, all of which would adversely impact our revenues. While the supply disruption has reduced our new vehicle inventory supply, it has positively impacted our gross profit per vehicle retailed. As new vehicle inventories return to historic levels we would expect our new vehicle gross profit to return to pre-COVID levels.
In addition, the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on macroeconomic conditions impacted and may further impact the proper functioning of financial and capital markets, foreign currency exchange rates, commodity prices and interest rates. Even after the COVID-19 global pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience adverse impacts to our business as a result of an economic recession or depression that has occurred or may occur in the future. The continued disruption of global financial markets as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic could have a negative impact on our ability to access capital in the future.
As information regarding the duration and severity of the COVID-19 global pandemic continues to evolve, the extent of its impact on our business is highly uncertain and difficult to predict. At this time, we cannot reasonably estimate the duration and severity of the COVID-19 global pandemic, or the overall impact it may have on our business. Even after the COVID-19 global pandemic has subsided, we may continue to experience adverse impacts to our business as a result of increased unemployment and any economic recession or depression that has occurred or may occur in the future. Any of these events could amplify the other risks and uncertainties described below and could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and/or stock price.
For more information on the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on our business, financial condition and results of operations, see "Impact of COVID-19 on our Business" contained in this report.
Property loss or other uninsured liabilities could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.
We are subject to substantial risk of property loss due to the significant concentration of property at dealership locations, including vehicles and parts. We have historically experienced business interruptions from time to time at several of our dealerships, due to actual or threatened adverse weather conditions or natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, hail storms, fires or other extraordinary events. Concentration of property at dealership locations also makes the automotive retail business particularly vulnerable to theft, fraud and misappropriation of assets. Illegal or unethical conduct by employees, customers, vendors, and unaffiliated third parties can result in loss of assets, disrupt operations, impact brand reputation, jeopardize manufacturer and other relationships, result in the imposition of fines or penalties, and subject us to governmental investigations or lawsuits. While we maintain insurance to protect against a number of losses, this insurance coverage often contains significant deductibles. In addition, we "self-insure" a portion of our potential liabilities, meaning we do not carry insurance from a third-party for such liabilities, and are wholly responsible for any related losses including for certain potential liabilities that some states prohibit the maintenance of insurance to protect against. In certain instances, our insurance may not fully cover a loss depending on the applicable deductible or the magnitude and nature of the claim. Additionally, changes in the cost or availability of insurance in the future could substantially increase our costs to maintain our current level of coverage or could cause us to reduce our insurance coverage and increase our self-insured risks. To the extent we incur significant additional costs for insurance, suffer losses that are not covered by in-force insurance or suffer losses for which we are self-insured, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially adversely impacted.
If we are unable to acquire and successfully integrate additional dealerships into our business, our revenue and earnings growth may be adversely affected.
We believe that the automotive retailing industry is a mature industry whose sales are significantly impacted by the prevailing economic climate, both nationally and in local markets. Accordingly, we believe that our future growth depends in part on our ability to manage expansion, control costs in our operations and acquire and effectively integrate acquired dealerships into our organization. When seeking to acquire other dealerships, we often compete with several other national, regional and local dealership groups, and other strategic and financial buyers, some of which may have greater financial resources than us. Competition for attractive acquisition targets may result in fewer acquisition opportunities for us and we may have to forgo acquisition opportunities to the extent we cannot negotiate such acquisitions on acceptable terms.
We also face additional risks commonly encountered with growth through acquisitions. These risks include, but are not limited to: (i) failing to obtain manufacturers’ consents to acquisitions of additional franchises; (ii) incurring significant transaction-related costs for both completed and failed acquisitions; (iii) incurring significantly higher capital expenditures and operating expenses; (iv) failing to integrate the operations and personnel of the acquired dealerships and impairing relationships with employees; (v) incorrectly valuing entities to be acquired or incurring undisclosed liabilities at acquired dealerships; (vi) disrupting our ongoing business and diverting our management resources to newly acquired dealerships; (vii) failing to achieve expected performance levels; and (viii) impairing relationships with manufacturers and customers as a result of changes in management.
We may not adequately anticipate all the demands that our growth will impose on our personnel, procedures and structures, including our financial and reporting control systems, data processing systems, and management structure. Moreover, our failure to retain qualified management personnel at any acquired dealership may increase the risks associated with integrating the acquired dealership. If we cannot adequately anticipate and respond to these demands, we may fail to realize acquisition synergies and our resources will be focused on incorporating new operations into our structure rather than on areas that may be more profitable.
We are a holding company and as a result are dependent on our operating subsidiaries to generate sufficient cash and distribute cash to us to service our indebtedness and fund our ongoing operations.
Our ability to make payments on our indebtedness and fund our ongoing operations depends on our operating subsidiaries' ability to generate cash in the future and distribute that cash to us. It is possible that our subsidiaries may not generate cash from operations in an amount sufficient to enable us to service our indebtedness. In addition, many of our subsidiaries are required to comply with the provisions of franchise agreements, dealer agreements, other agreements with manufacturers, mortgages, and credit facility providers. Many of these agreements contain minimum working capital or net worth requirements, and are subject to change at least annually. Although the requirements contained in these agreements did not restrict our subsidiaries from distributing cash to us as of December 31, 2021, unexpected changes to our financial metrics or to the terms of our franchise agreements, dealer agreements, or other agreements with manufacturers could require us to alter the manner in which we distribute or use cash. If our operating subsidiaries are unable to generate and distribute sufficient cash to us to service our indebtedness and fund our ongoing operations, our financial condition may be materially adversely affected.
Our inability to execute a substantial portion of our strategic plan could have an adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Our inability to execute a substantial portion of our business strategy, including our five-year strategic plan, could adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. We seek to execute on our strategic plan using a variety of growth efforts including, driving same-store revenue growth, acquiring additional revenue through strategic acquisitions and adding incremental revenue through our Clicklane platform. Many of the factors that impact our ability to execute our strategic plan, such as the advancement of certain technologies, general economic conditions and legal and regulatory obstacles are beyond our control.
Consumers are increasingly shopping for new and used vehicles, automotive repair and maintenance service and other automotive products and services online and through mobile applications, including through third-party online and mobile sales platforms, with which we compete, that are designed to generate consumer sales that are sold to automotive dealers. We have invested and will continue to invest in our Clicklane platform and other online applications in furtherance of our strategic plan. We face increased competition for market share from other automotive retailers and other sales platforms that have also invested in digital channels. There can be no assurance that our initiatives and investments in digital channels will be successful or result in improved financial performance.
We may not adequately anticipate all the demands that our growth will impose on our personnel, procedures and structures, including our financial and reporting control systems, data processing systems, and management structure. Furthermore, we may decide to alter or discontinue aspects of our strategic plan and may adopt alternative or additional strategies in response to business or competitive factors or other factors or events beyond our control. We cannot give assurance that we will be able to execute a substantial portion of our strategic plan which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Goodwill and manufacturer franchise rights comprise a significant portion of our total assets. We must test our goodwill and manufacturer franchise rights for impairment at least annually, which could result in a material, non-cash write-down of goodwill or manufacturer franchise rights and could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and stockholders’ equity.
Our principal intangible assets are goodwill and our rights under our franchise agreements with vehicle manufacturers. Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets, including manufacturer franchise rights, are subject to impairment assessments at least annually (or more frequently when events or changes in circumstances indicate that an impairment may have occurred), by applying a qualitative or quantitative assessment. A decrease in our market capitalization or profitability increases the risk of goodwill impairment. The fair value of our manufacturer franchise rights is determined by discounting a subset of the projected cash flows at a dealership that we attribute to the value of the franchise. Changes to the business mix or declining cash flows in a dealership increase the risk of impairment.
During the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019, we recognized $23.0 million and $7.1 million, respectively, in pre-tax non-cash impairment charges associated with manufacturer franchise rights recorded at certain dealerships. We may be
required to record additional impairment charges if the COVID-19 global pandemic continues. We cannot accurately predict the amount and timing of any additional impairment charge at this time; however, any such impairment charge could have an adverse effect on our results of operations and stockholders’ equity.
The loss of key personnel and limited management and personnel resources could adversely affect our business.
Our success depends, to a significant degree, upon the continued contributions of our management team, and service and sales personnel. In addition, manufacturer dealer or framework agreements may require the prior approval of the applicable manufacturer before any change is made in dealership general managers or other management positions. The loss of the services of one or more of these key employees may materially impair the profitability of our operations, or may result in a violation of an applicable dealer or framework agreement. In addition, the market for qualified employees in the industry and in the states in which we operate, specifically for general managers and sales and service personnel, is highly competitive and may subject us to increased labor costs during periods of low unemployment. The loss of the services of such employees or the inability to attract additional qualified employees may adversely affect the ability of our dealerships to conduct their operations in accordance with the standards set by us or the manufacturers. If we are unable to retain our key personnel, we may be unable to successfully execute our business plans, which may have a material adverse effect on our business.
LHM Acquisition Risks
The consummation of the LHM Acquisition creates numerous risks and uncertainties which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.
With the consummation of the LHM Acquisition, we have experienced significantly more sales, and have more assets and employees than we did prior to the transaction. The integration process will require us to expend significant capital and significantly expand the scope of our operations and financial systems. Our management will be required to devote a significant amount of time and attention to the process of integrating the operations of our business with that of the LHM Dealerships and TCA. There is a significant degree of difficulty and management involvement inherent in that process.
These difficulties include:
• integrating the operations of the LHM Business while carrying on the ongoing operations of our business;
• managing a significantly larger company than before consummation of the LHM Acquisition;
• the possibility of faulty assumptions underlying our expectations regarding the integration process, including,
among other things, unanticipated delays, costs or inefficiencies;
• the effects of unanticipated liabilities;
• operating a more diversified business;
• integrating two separate business cultures, which may prove to be incompatible;
• operating the TCA Business;
• attracting and retaining the necessary personnel associated with the LHM Business;
•implementing or improving controls, policies and information systems and related security measures in the LHM Business and legacy facilities; and
• operating in broader national footprint including states in which we may not have previously done business.
As private companies, the LHM Dealerships and TCA were not required to obtain audits of internal control over financial reporting or otherwise have such internal control assessed, except to the extent required in connection with audits pursuant to GAAP; however, the financial systems of the entities are being integrated into our financial systems and they are now subject to the internal control requirements of the Company.
If any of these factors limit our ability to integrate the LHM Business into our operations successfully or on a timely basis, the expectations of future results of operations, including certain run-rate synergies expected to result from the LHM Acquisition, might not be met. As a result, we may not be able to realize the expected benefits that we seek to achieve from the LHM Acquisition, which could also affect our ability to service our debt obligations. In addition, we may be required to spend additional time or money on integration that otherwise would be spent on the development and expansion of our business, including efforts to further expand our product portfolio.
We may be unable to realize the anticipated cost savings or operational improvements or may incur additional and/or unexpected costs in order to realize them.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to realize the anticipated cost savings or operational improvements from the LHM Acquisition in the anticipated amounts or within the anticipated timeframes or costs expectations or at all. We anticipate $65 million of cost savings following the LHM Acquisition from reduced corporate costs due to the elimination of family management fees and reduced costs associated with certain information technology and advertising costs. We anticipate annualized run-rate operating synergies over the medium term following the consummation of the LHM Acquisition of approximately $75 million, inclusive of approximately $10.0 million of costs we expect to incur to realize such operating synergies. These operating synergies are expected to result primarily from the integration of the TCA Business' services across our dealership portfolio.
These operating synergies or any cost savings that we expect to realize, including reduced corporate costs due to the elimination of family management fees and certain vendor contracts, may differ materially from our estimates. We cannot provide assurances that these anticipated operating synergies or cost savings will be achieved or that our programs and improvements will be completed as anticipated or at all. In addition, any cost savings that we realize may be offset, in whole or in part, by reductions in revenues or through increases in other expenses.
The TCA Business is subject to a wide range of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, some of which we may not have previously been subject.
The TCA Business is, and will continue to be, subject to a wide range of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, some of which Asbury may not have been previously subject. Such laws and regulations include but are not limited to:
•state and local licensing requirements;
•federal and state laws regulating vehicle financial products; and
•federal and state consumer protection laws.
No assurance can be given that applicable statutes, regulations, and other laws will not be amended or construed differently, that new laws will not be adopted, or that any of these laws will not be enforced more aggressively. For example, changes in the regulatory and supervisory environments could adversely affect the TCA Business in substantial and unpredictable ways. Further, the TCA Business’ noncompliance with applicable laws (whether as a result of changes in interpretation or enforcement, system or human errors, or otherwise) could result in the suspension or revocation of licenses or registrations necessary to operation, or the initiation of enforcement actions or private litigation.
In addition, we are required to set aside an amount of restricted cash sufficient to satisfy potential claims associated with the TCA Business. While we are permitted to invest such cash in low-risk money market accounts and other investments, we cannot provide any assurance that a loss in such investments would not have a material adverse effect on our ability to honor customers’ claims, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Risks Related to Macroeconomic and Market Conditions
The automotive retail industry is sensitive to unfavorable changes in general economic conditions and various other factors that could affect demand for our products and services, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, our ability to implement our strategy and our results of operations.
Our future performance will be impacted by general economic conditions including: changes in employment levels; consumer demand, preferences and confidence levels; the availability and cost of credit; fuel prices; levels of discretionary personal income; inflation; and interest rates. Recently, inflation has increased throughout the U.S. economy. Inflation can adversely affect us by increasing the costs of labor, fuel and other costs as well as by reducing demand for automobiles. Sales of certain vehicles, particularly trucks and sport utility vehicles that historically have provided us with higher gross profit per vehicle retailed, may be sensitive to fuel prices. In addition, rapid changes in fuel prices can cause shifts in consumer preferences which are difficult to accommodate given the long lead-time of inventory acquisition. Inflation is also often accompanied by higher interest rates, which could reduce the fair value of our outstanding debt obligations. Changes in interest rates can also significantly impact new and used vehicle sales and vehicle affordability due to the direct relationship between interest rates and monthly loan payments, a critical factor for many vehicle buyers, and the impact interest rates have on customers’ borrowing capacity and disposable income. In an inflationary environment, depending on automotive industry and other economic conditions, we may be unable to raise prices to keep up with the rate of inflation, which would reduce our profit margins. We have experienced, and continue to experience, increases in the prices of labor, fuel and other costs of providing service. Continued inflationary pressures could impact our profitability.
We also are subject to economic, competitive, and other conditions prevailing in the various markets in which we operate, even if those conditions are not prominent nationally.
Retail vehicle sales are cyclical and historically have experienced periodic downturns characterized by oversupply and weak demand, which could result in a need for us to lower the prices at which we sell vehicles, which would reduce our revenue per vehicle sold and our margins. Additionally, a shift in consumer’s vehicle preferences driven by pricing, fuel costs or other factors may have a material adverse effect on our revenues, margins and results of operations.
Changes in general economic conditions may make it difficult for us to execute our business strategy. In such an event, we may be required to enter into certain transactions in order to generate additional cash, which may include, but not be limited to, selling certain of our dealerships or other assets or increasing borrowings under our existing, or any future, credit facilities. There can be no assurance that, if necessary, we would be able to enter into any such transactions in a timely manner or on reasonable terms, if at all. Furthermore, in the event we were required to sell dealership assets, the sale of any material portion of such assets could have a material adverse effect on our revenue and profitability.
Adverse conditions affecting one or more of the vehicle manufacturers with which we hold franchises or their inability to deliver a desirable mix of vehicles that our consumers demand could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Historically, we have generated most of our revenue through new vehicle sales, and new vehicle sales also tend to lead to sales of higher-margin products and services, such as finance and insurance products and vehicle-related parts and service. As a result, our profitability is dependent to a great extent on various aspects of vehicle manufacturers’ operations, many of which are outside of our control. Our ability to sell new vehicles is dependent on manufacturers’ ability to design and produce, and willingness to allocate and deliver to our dealerships, a desirable mix of popular new vehicles that consumers demand. Popular vehicles may often be difficult to obtain from manufacturers for a number of reasons, including the fact that manufacturers generally allocate their vehicles to dealerships based on sales history and capital expenditures associated with such dealerships. Further, if a manufacturer fails to produce desirable vehicles or develops a reputation for producing undesirable vehicles or produces vehicles that do not comply with applicable laws or government regulations, and we own dealerships which sell that manufacturer’s vehicles, our revenues from those dealerships could be adversely affected as consumers shift their vehicle purchases away from that brand.
Although we seek to limit our dependence on any one vehicle manufacturer, there can be no assurance that the brand mix allocated and delivered to our dealerships by the manufacturers will be appropriate or sufficiently diverse, to protect us from a significant decline in the desirability of vehicles manufactured by a particular manufacturer or disruptions in a manufacturer's ability to produce vehicles. For the year ended December 31, 2021, manufacturers representing 5% or more of our revenues from new vehicle sales were as follows:
|Manufacturer (Vehicle Brands):||% of Total|
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota and Lexus)
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda and Acura)
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes-Benz and Sprinter)
Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln)
Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan and Infiniti)
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW and MINI)
Similar to automotive retailers, vehicle manufacturers may be affected by the long-term U.S. and international economic climate. In addition, we remain vulnerable to other matters that may impact the manufacturers of the vehicles we sell, many of which are outside of our control, including: (i) changes in their respective financial condition; (ii) changes in their respective marketing efforts; (iii) changes in their respective reputation; (iv) manufacturer and other product defects, including recalls; (v) changes in their respective management; (vi) disruptions in the production and delivery of vehicles and parts due to natural disasters or other reasons (for example, shortages in the supply of semiconductor chips may continue to adversely impact the number of vehicles which manufacturers are able to produce); and (vii) issues with respect to labor relations. Our business is highly dependent on consumer demand and brand preferences for our manufacturers’ products. Manufacturer recall campaigns are a common occurrence that have accelerated in frequency and scope. Manufacturer recall campaigns could (i) adversely affect our new and used vehicle sales or customer residual trade-in valuations, (ii) cause us to temporarily remove vehicles from our inventory, (iii) force us to incur increased costs, and (iv) expose us to litigation and adverse publicity related to the sale of recalled vehicles, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Vehicle manufacturers that produce vehicles outside of the U.S. are subject to additional risks including changes in
quotas, tariffs or duties, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, regulations governing imports and the costs related thereto, and foreign governmental regulations.
Adverse conditions that materially affect a vehicle manufacturer and its ability to profitably design, market, produce or distribute desirable new vehicles could in turn materially adversely affect our ability to (i) sell vehicles produced by that manufacturer, (ii) obtain or finance our new vehicle inventories, (iii) access or benefit from manufacturer financial assistance programs, (iv) collect in full or on a timely basis any amounts due therefrom, and/or (v) obtain other goods and services provided by the impacted manufacturer. In addition, we depend on manufacturers’ ability to design, produce, and supply parts to us and any failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our parts and services business. Our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows could be materially adversely affected as a result of any event that has an adverse effect on any vehicle manufacturer.
In addition, if a vehicle manufacturer’s financial condition worsens and it seeks protection from creditors in bankruptcy or similar proceedings, or otherwise under the laws of its jurisdiction of organization, (i) the manufacturer could seek to terminate or reject all or certain of our franchises, (ii) if the manufacturer is successful in terminating all or certain of our franchises, we may not receive adequate compensation for those franchises, (iii) our cost to obtain financing for our new vehicle inventory may increase or no longer be available from such manufacturer’s captive finance subsidiary, (iv) consumer demand for such manufacturer’s products could be materially adversely affected, especially if costs related to improving such manufacturer’s financial condition are factored into the price of its products, (v) there may be a significant disruption in the availability of consumer credit to purchase or lease that manufacturer’s vehicles or negative changes in the terms of such financing, which may negatively impact our sales, or (vi) there may be a reduction in the value of receivables and inventory associated with that manufacturer, among other things. The occurrence of any one or more of these events could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
Furthermore, the automotive manufacturing supply chain spans the globe. As such, supply chain disruptions resulting from natural disasters, adverse weather and other events may affect the flow of vehicle and parts inventories to us or our manufacturing partners. For example, in early 2020, the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China led to quarantines of a significant number of cities across the United States and other countries and widespread disruptions to travel and economic activity. Until such time as the coronavirus is fully contained and the supply chain shortages of semiconductor chips, parts and other key components are addressed, we may continue to experience disruptions in the (i) supply of vehicle and parts inventories, (ii) ability and willingness of our customers to visit our stores to purchase products or service their vehicles and (iii) overall health of our labor force. At this time, it is unclear what effect, if any, the outbreak and resulting disruptions may continue to have on the automotive manufacturing vehicle and parts supply chain, the health of our labor force and the ability and willingness of our customers to visit our stores to purchase products or service their vehicles. Such disruptions could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, and cash flows.
Substantial competition in automobile sales and services may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
The automotive retail and service industry is highly competitive with respect to price, service, location, and selection. Our competition includes: (i) franchised automobile dealerships in our markets that sell the same or similar new and used vehicles; (ii) privately negotiated sales of used vehicles; (iii) other used vehicle retailers, including regional and national vehicle rental companies; (iv) companies with a primarily internet-based business model, such as Carvana, and used vehicle brokers that sell used vehicles to consumers; (v) service center and parts supply chain stores; and (vi) independent service and repair shops.
We do not have any cost advantage over other retailers in purchasing new vehicles from manufacturers. We typically rely on our advertising, merchandising, sales expertise, service reputation, strong local branding and dealership location to sell new vehicles. Because our dealer agreements only grant us a non-exclusive right to sell a manufacturer’s product within a specified market area, our revenues, gross profit and overall profitability may be materially adversely affected if competing dealerships expand their market share. Further, our vehicle manufacturers may decide to award additional franchises in our markets in ways that negatively impact our sales.
The internet has become a significant part of the advertising and sales process in our industry. Customers are using the internet to shop, and compare prices, for new and used vehicles, automotive repair and maintenance services, finance and insurance products and other automotive products. If we are unable to effectively use the internet to attract customers to our own online channels, such as our Clicklane platform, and mobile applications, and, in turn, to our stores, our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially adversely affected. Additionally, the growing use of social media by consumers increases the speed and extent that information and opinions can be shared, and negative posts or comments on social media about us or any of our stores could damage our reputation and brand names, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Additionally, we rely on the protection of state franchise laws in the states in which we operate and if those laws are repealed or weakened, our framework, franchise and related agreements may become more susceptible to termination, nonrenewal or renegotiation. In recent years, certain states have permitted one or more companies, such as Tesla, to circumvent the state franchise laws of several states in the United States, thereby permitting them to sell their new electric vehicles directly to consumers without the requirements of establishing a dealer network. If the state franchise laws are repealed, weakened or amended to permit vehicle manufacturers to sell vehicles (whether electric or not) directly to consumers, they may be able to have a competitive advantage over the traditional dealers, which could have a material adverse effect on our sales in those states, which in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are dependent upon our relationships with the manufacturers of vehicles that we sell and are subject to restrictions imposed by, and significant influence from, these vehicle manufacturers. Any of these restrictions or any changes or deterioration of these relationships could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are dependent on our relationships with the manufacturers of the vehicles we sell, which have the ability to exercise a great deal of control and influence over our day-to-day operations, as a result of the terms of our dealer, framework and related agreements. We may obtain new vehicles from manufacturers, service vehicles, sell new vehicles and display vehicle manufacturers’ trademarks only to the extent permitted under these agreements. The terms of these agreements may conflict with our interests and objectives and may impose limitations on key aspects of our operations, including acquisition strategy and capital spending.
For example, manufacturers can set performance standards with respect to sales volume, sales effectiveness and customer satisfaction, and require us to obtain manufacturer consent before we can acquire dealerships selling a manufacturer’s automobiles. From time to time, we may be precluded under agreements with certain manufacturers from acquiring additional franchises, or subject to other adverse actions, to the extent we are not meeting certain performance criteria at our existing stores (with respect to matters such as sales volume, customer satisfaction and sales effectiveness) until our performance improves in accordance with the agreements, subject to applicable state franchise laws. In addition, many vehicle manufacturers place limits on the total number of franchises that any group of affiliated dealerships may own and certain manufacturers place limits on the number of franchises or share of total brand vehicle sales that may be maintained by an affiliated dealership group on a national, regional or local basis, as well as limits on store ownership in contiguous markets. If we reach any of these limits, we may be prevented from making further acquisitions, or we may be required to dispose of certain dealerships, which could adversely affect our future growth. We cannot provide assurance that manufacturers will approve future acquisitions timely, if at all, which could significantly impair the execution of our acquisition strategy.
In addition, certain manufacturers use a dealership’s manufacturer-determined customer satisfaction index ("CSI") score as a factor governing participation in incentive programs. To the extent we do not meet minimum score requirements, our future payments may be materially reduced or we may be precluded from receiving certain incentives, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Manufacturers also typically establish facilities and minimum capital requirements for dealerships on a case-by-case basis. In certain circumstances, including as a condition to obtaining consent to a proposed acquisition, a manufacturer may require us to remodel, upgrade or move our facilities, and capitalize the subject dealership at levels we would not otherwise choose to fund, causing us to divert our financial resources away from uses that management believes may be of higher long-term value to us. Delays in obtaining, or failing to obtain, manufacturer consent, would impede our ability to execute acquisitions that we believe would integrate well with our overall strategy and limit our ability to expand our business.
Manufacturers can also establish new franchises or relocate existing franchises, subject to applicable state franchise laws. The establishment or relocation of franchises in our markets could have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition and results of operations of our dealerships in the market in which the action is taken.
Manufacturers may also limit our ability to divest one or more of our dealerships in a timely manner or at all. Most of our dealer agreements provide the manufacturer with a right of first refusal to purchase any of the manufacturer’s franchises we seek to sell. Divestitures may also require manufacturer consent and failure to obtain consent would require us to find another potential buyer or wait until the buyer is able to meet the requirements of the manufacturer. A delay in the sale of a dealership could have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
Manufacturers may terminate or may not renew our dealer and framework agreements, or may compel us to divest our dealerships, for a number of reasons, including default under the agreement, any unapproved change of control (which specific changes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but which include material changes in the composition of our Board of Directors during a specified time period, the acquisition of 5% or more of our voting stock by another vehicle manufacturer or
distributor, the acquisition of 20% or more of our voting stock by third parties, and the acquisition of an ownership interest sufficient to direct or influence management and policies), or certain other unapproved events (including certain extraordinary corporate transactions such as a merger or sale of all or substantially all of our assets). Triggers of these clauses are often based upon actions by our stockholders and are generally outside of our control. Restrictions on any unapproved changes of ownership or management may adversely impact our value, as they may prevent or deter prospective acquirers from gaining control of us. In addition, actions taken by a manufacturer to exploit its bargaining position in negotiating the terms of renewals of franchise agreements or otherwise could also have a material adverse effect on our revenues and profitability.
There can be no assurances that we will be able to renew our dealer and framework agreements on a timely basis, on acceptable terms, or at all. Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected to the extent that our rights become compromised or our operations are restricted due to the terms of our dealer or framework agreements or if we lose franchises representing a significant percentage of our revenues due to termination or failure to renew such agreements.
If vehicle manufacturers reduce or discontinue sales incentive, warranty or other promotional programs, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows may be materially adversely affected.
We benefit from certain sales incentive, warranty, and other promotional programs of vehicle manufacturers that are intended to promote and support their respective new vehicle sales. Key incentive programs include: (i) customer rebates on new vehicles; (ii) dealer incentives on new vehicles; (iii) special financing or leasing terms; (iv) warranties on new and used vehicles; and (v) sponsorship of used vehicle sales by authorized new vehicle dealers.
Vehicle manufacturers often make many changes to their incentive programs. Any reduction or discontinuation of manufacturers’ incentive programs for any reason, including a supply and demand imbalance, may reduce our sales volume which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, cash flows, and financial condition.
Technological advances, including electrification of vehicles and adoption of autonomous vehicles in the long-term, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
The automotive industry is predicted to experience change over the long-term. Technological advances are facilitating the development of electric, battery powered and hybrid gas/electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles. While most major vehicle manufacturers have announced plans to electrify some or all of their new vehicle offerings, the eventual timing of widespread availability of electric, battery powered and hybrid gas/electric vehicles and driverless vehicles is uncertain due to regulatory requirements, additional technological requirements, and uncertain consumer acceptance of these vehicles. We expect to continue to sell electric, battery powered and hybrid gas/electric vehicles through our dealerships, however, the effect of these vehicles on the automotive retail business is uncertain and could include changes in the level of the new and used vehicle sales, the price of new and used vehicles and the levels of service required for such vehicles and the profitability of our parts and service business and the role of franchised dealers, any of which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness and Financial Matters
Our outstanding indebtedness, ability to incur additional debt and the provisions in the agreements governing our debt, and certain other agreements, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
As of December 31, 2021, we had total debt of $3.61 billion and total floor plan notes payable of $564.5 million. We have the ability to incur substantial additional debt in the future to finance, among other things, acquisitions, working capital and capital expenditures, and new and used vehicle inventory, as well as to refinance new and used vehicle inventory, subject in each case to the restrictions contained in our debt instruments and other agreements existing at the time such indebtedness is incurred. We will continue to have substantial debt service obligations, consisting of required cash payments of principal and interest, for the foreseeable future.
Our debt service obligations could have important consequences to us for the foreseeable future, including the following: (i) our ability to obtain additional financing, or to obtain such financing on attractive terms, for acquisitions, capital expenditures, working capital or other general corporate purposes may be impaired; (ii) a substantial portion of our cash flow from operating activities must be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our debt, thereby reducing the funds available to us for our operations and other corporate purposes; (iii) some of our borrowings are and will continue to be at variable rates of interest, which exposes us to certain risks of interest rate increases; and (iv) we may be or become substantially more leveraged than some of our competitors, which may place us at a relative competitive disadvantage and make us more vulnerable to changes in market conditions and governmental regulations.
In addition to our ability to incur additional debt in the future, there are operating and financial restrictions and covenants, such as leverage covenants, in certain of our debt and mortgage agreements, including the agreement governing our 2019 Senior Credit Facility and our mortgage agreements and related mortgage guarantees, as well as certain other agreements to which we are a party that may adversely affect our ability to finance our future operations or capital needs or to pursue certain business activities. These limit, among other things, our ability to incur certain additional debt, create certain liens or other encumbrances and make certain payments (including dividends and repurchases of our common stock and for investments). Certain of these agreements also require us to maintain compliance with certain financial ratios.
Our failure to comply with any of these covenants in the future could constitute a default under the relevant agreement, which could, depending on the relevant agreement, (i) entitle the creditors under such agreement to terminate our ability to borrow under the relevant agreement and accelerate our obligations to repay outstanding borrowings; (ii) require us to repay those borrowings; (iii) entitle the creditors under such agreement to foreclose on the property securing the relevant indebtedness; or (iv) prevent us from making debt service payments on certain of our other indebtedness, any of which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In many cases, a default under one of our debt, mortgage, or other agreements, could trigger cross-default provisions in one or more of our other debt or mortgage agreements. There can be no assurance that our creditors would agree to an amendment or waiver of our covenants. In the event we obtain an amendment or waiver, we would likely incur additional fees and higher interest expense.
In addition to the financial and other covenants contained in our various debt or mortgage agreements, certain of our lease agreements contain covenants that give our landlords the right to terminate the lease, seek significant cash damages, or evict us from the applicable property, if we fail to comply. Similarly, our failure to comply with any financial or other covenants in any of our framework agreements would give the relevant manufacturer certain rights, including the right to reject proposed acquisitions, and may give it the right to repurchase its franchises from us. Events that give rise to such rights, and our inability to acquire additional dealerships or the requirement that we sell one or more of our dealerships at any time, could inhibit the growth of our business, and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Manufacturers may also have the right to restrict our ability to provide guarantees of our operating companies, pledges of the capital stock of our subsidiaries and liens on our assets, which could materially adversely affect our ability to obtain financing for our business and operations on favorable terms or at desired levels, if at all.
The occurrence of any one of these events may limit our ability to take strategic actions that would otherwise enable us to manage our business in a manner in which we otherwise would, absent such limitations, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected by increases in interest rates.
We generally finance our purchases of new vehicle inventory, have the ability to finance the purchases of used vehicle inventory, and have the availability to borrow funds for working capital under our senior secured credit facilities that charge interest at variable rates. Therefore, our interest expense from variable rate debt will rise with increases in interest rates. In addition, a significant rise in interest rates may also have the effect of depressing demand in the interest rate sensitive aspects of our business, particularly new and used vehicle sales and the related profit margins and F&I revenue per vehicle, because most of our customers finance their vehicle purchases. As a result, rising interest rates may have the effect of simultaneously increasing our capital costs and reducing our revenues. Given our variable interest rate debt and floor plan notes payable outstanding as of December 31, 2021, each one percent increase in market interest rates would increase our total annual interest expense by approximately $14.0 million. When considered in connection with reduced expected sales, if interest rates increase, any such increase could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our vehicle sales, financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected by changes in costs or availability of consumer financing.
The majority of vehicles purchased by our customers are financed. Reductions in the availability of credit to consumers have contributed to declines in our vehicle sales in past periods. Reductions in available consumer credit or increased costs of that credit, could result in a decline in our vehicle sales, which would have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Lenders that have historically provided financing to those buyers who, for various reasons, do not have access to traditional financing, including those buyers who have a poor credit history or lack the down payment necessary to purchase a vehicle, are often referred to as subprime lenders. If market conditions cause subprime lenders to tighten credit standards, or if interest rates increase, the ability to obtain financing from subprime lenders for these consumers to purchase vehicles could become limited, resulting in a decline in our vehicle sales, which in turn, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Many of our loans and obligations for borrowed money are priced on variable interest rates tied to the London Interbank Offering Rate, or LIBOR. We are subject to risks that LIBOR may no longer be available as a result of the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority ceasing to require the submission of LIBOR quotes on June 30, 2023.
The potential cessation of LIBOR quotes on June 30, 2023 creates substantial risks to the banking industry, including us. Unless alternative rates can be negotiated, our floating rate loans, funding and derivative obligations that specify the use of a LIBOR index, will no longer adjust and may become fixed rate instruments at the time LIBOR ceases to exist. This would adversely affect our asset/liability management and could lead to more asset and liability mismatches and interest rate risk unless appropriate LIBOR alternatives are developed. It could also cause confusion that could disrupt the capital and credit markets as a result of confusion or uncertainty.
The Federal Reserve has sponsored the Alternative Reference Rates Committee, or ARRC, which serves as a forum to coordinate and track planning as market participants currently using LIBOR consider (a) transitioning to alternative reference rates where it is deemed appropriate and (b) addressing risks in legacy contracts language given the possibility that LIBOR might stop. On April 3, 2018, the Federal Reserve began publishing three new reference rates, including the Secured Overnight Financing Rate, or SOFR. ARRC has recommended SOFR as the alternative to LIBOR, and published fallback interest rate consultations for public comment and a Paced TransTransition Plan to SOFR use. The Financial Stability Board has taken an interest in LIBOR and possible replacement indices as a matter of risk management. The International Organisation of Securities Commissions, or IOSCO, has been active in this area and is expected to call on market participants to have backup options if a reference rate, such as LIBOR, ceases publication. The International Swap Dealers Association has published guidance on interest rate bench marks and alternatives in July and August 2018. It cannot be predicted whether SOFR or another index or indices will become a market standard that replaces LIBOR, and if so, the effects on our customers, or our future results of operations or financial condition.
Risks Related to Legal and Regulatory Matters
If state laws that protect automotive retailers are repealed, weakened, or superseded by our framework agreements with manufacturers, our dealerships will be more susceptible to termination, non-renewal, or renegotiation of their dealer agreements, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Applicable state laws generally provide that an automobile manufacturer may not terminate or refuse to renew a dealer agreement unless it has first provided the dealer with written notice setting forth "good cause" and stating the grounds for termination or non-renewal. Many states also limit the circumstances in which an automobile manufacturer may sell vehicles directly to consumers. Some state laws allow dealers to file protests or petitions or allow them to attempt to comply with the manufacturer’s criteria within a notice period to avoid the termination or non-renewal. Our framework agreements with certain manufacturers contain provisions that, among other things, attempt to limit the protections available to dealers under these laws, and, though unsuccessful to date, manufacturers’ ongoing lobbying efforts may lead to the repeal or revision of these laws. If these laws are repealed in the states in which we operate, manufacturers may be able to terminate our franchises without providing advance notice, an opportunity to cure or a showing of good cause. Without the protection of these state laws, it may also be more difficult for us to renew our dealer agreements upon expiration. Changes in laws that provide manufacturers the ability to terminate our dealer agreements could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Furthermore, if a manufacturer seeks protection from creditors in bankruptcy, courts have held that the federal bankruptcy laws may supersede the state laws that protect automotive retailers resulting in either the termination, non-renewal or rejection of franchises by such manufacturers, which, in turn, could materially adversely affect our business, result of operations, financial condition and cash flows. Market disruptors continue to push for legislation permitting direct-to-consumer sales models; if those lobbying efforts are successful, automotive manufacturers could bypass the traditional franchised dealer network, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
New laws, regulations, or governmental policies in response to climate change, including fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards, or changes to existing standards, could adversely impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flow, and prospects.
New laws and regulations designed to address climate change concerns could affect vehicle manufacturers’ ability to produce cost effective vehicles. For example, laws and regulations enacted that directly or indirectly affect vehicle manufacturers (through an increase in the cost of production or their ability to produce satisfactory products) or our business (through an impact on our inventory availability, cost of sales, operations or demand for the products we sell) could materially adversely impact our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flow, and prospects. In addition, vehicle manufacturers are subject to government-mandated fuel economy and greenhouse gas, or GHG, emission standards, which
continue to change and become more stringent over time. Significant increases in fuel economy requirements or new federal or state restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide that may be imposed on vehicles and automobile fuels could adversely affect demand for vehicles, annual miles driven or the products we sell or lead to changes in automotive technology.
A failure of any of our information systems or those of our third-party service providers, or a data security breach with regard to personally identifiable information ("PII") about our customers or employees, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We depend on the efficient operation of our information systems and those of our third-party service providers. We rely on information systems at our dealerships in all aspects of our sales and service efforts, as well in the preparation of our consolidated financial and operating data. All of our dealerships currently operate on a common dealer management system ("DMS"). Our business could be significantly disrupted if (i) the DMS fails to integrate with other third-party information systems, customer relations management tools or other software, or to the extent that any of these systems become unavailable to us or fail to perform as designed for an extended period of time or (ii) our relationship with our DMS provider or any other third-party provider deteriorates. Additionally, any disruption to access and connectivity of our information systems due to natural disasters, power loss or other reasons could disrupt our business operations, impact sales and results of operations, expose us to customer or third-party claims, or result in adverse publicity.
Additionally, in the ordinary course of business, we and our partners receive significant PII about our customers in order to complete the sale or service of a vehicle and related products. We also receive PII from our employees. The regulatory environment surrounding information security and privacy is increasingly demanding, with numerous state and federal regulations, as well as payment card industry and other vendor standards, governing the collection and maintenance of PII from consumers and other individuals. We believe the automotive dealership industry is a particular target of identity thieves, as there are numerous opportunities for a data security breach, including cyber-security breaches, burglary, lost or misplaced data, scams, or misappropriation of data by employees, vendors or unaffiliated third parties. Because of the increasing number and sophistication of cyber-attacks, and despite the security measures we have in place and any additional measures we may implement or adopt in the future, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, could be vulnerable to security breaches, computer viruses, lost or misplaced data, programming errors, scams, burglary, human errors, acts of vandalism and/or other events. Alleged or actual data security breaches can increase costs of doing business, negatively affect customer satisfaction and loyalty, expose us to negative publicity, individual claims or consumer class actions, administrative, civil or criminal investigations or actions, and infringe on proprietary information, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
Our operations are subject to extensive governmental laws and regulations. If we are found to be in purported violation of or subject to liabilities under any of these laws or regulations, or if new laws or regulations are enacted that adversely affect our operations, our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, reputation and prospects could suffer.
The automotive retail industry, including our facilities and operations, is subject to a wide range of federal, state, and local laws and regulations, such as those relating to motor vehicle sales, retail installment sales, leasing, finance and insurance, marketing, licensing, consumer protection, consumer privacy, escheatment, anti-money laundering, environmental, vehicle emissions and fuel economy, and health and safety. In addition, with respect to employment practices, we are subject to various laws and regulations, including complex federal, state, and local wage and hour and anti-discrimination laws. The violation of the laws or regulations to which we are subject could result in administrative, civil, or criminal sanctions against us, which may include a cease and desist order against the subject operations or even revocation or suspension of our license to operate the subject business, as well as significant fines and penalties. Violation of certain laws and regulations to which we are subject may also subject us to consumer class action or other lawsuits or governmental investigations and adverse publicity. We currently devote significant resources to comply with applicable federal, state, and local regulation of health, safety, environmental, zoning and land use regulations, and we may need to spend additional time, effort, and money to keep our operations and existing or acquired facilities in compliance therewith.
In addition, there is a risk that our employees could engage in misconduct that violates the laws or regulations to which we are subject. It is not always possible to detect or deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to detect and prevent this activity may not be effective in all cases. If any of our employees were to engage in misconduct or were to be accused of such misconduct, our business and reputation could be adversely affected.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") does not have direct regulatory authority over automotive dealers but could implement additional, indirect regulation of automotive dealers, in particular, their sale and marketing of finance and insurance products, through its regulation of automotive finance companies and other financial institutions. In addition, the CFPB possesses supervisory authority with respect to certain non-bank lenders, including automotive finance companies, participating in automotive financing. The Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") may exercise its additional rule-making authority to expand consumer protection regulations relating to the sale, financing and leasing of motor vehicles. In May 2016,
we signed a consent order with the FTC to settle allegations that in certain instances our advertisements did not adequately disclose information about used vehicles with open safety recalls. Under the consent order, we did not agree to make any payments or admit wrong-doing, but we did agree to make certain disclosures in marketing materials and at the point of sale and comply with certain record-keeping obligations.
Continued pressure from the CFPB, FTC, and other federal agencies could lead to significant changes in the manner that dealers are compensated for arranging customer financing and vehicle protection products, and while it is difficult to predict how any such changes might impact us, any adverse changes could have a material adverse impact on our finance and insurance business and results of operations. Furthermore, we expect that new laws and regulations, particularly at the federal level, in other areas may be enacted, which could also materially adversely impact our business.
Environmental laws and regulations govern, among other things, discharges into the air and water, storage of petroleum substances and chemicals, the handling and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes, investigation and remediation of contamination. Similar to many of our competitors, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur capital and operating expenditures and other costs to comply with such federal and state statutes. In addition, we may become subject to broad liabilities arising out of contamination at our currently and formerly owned or operated facilities, at locations to which hazardous substances were transported from such facilities, and at such locations related to entities formerly affiliated with us. Liability under these laws and regulations can be imposed on a joint and several basis and without regard to fault. For such potential liabilities, we believe we are entitled to indemnification from other entities. However, we cannot provide assurance that such entities will view their obligations as we do or will be able or willing to satisfy them. We may have indemnity obligations for liabilities relating to contamination at our currently or formerly owned and/or operated facilities as part of the acquisition or divestiture of certain properties in the ordinary course of business. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or significant additional expenditures required to maintain compliance therewith, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
A significant judgment against us or the imposition of a significant fine could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and future prospects. We further expect that, from time to time, new laws and regulations, particularly in the environmental area, will be enacted, and compliance with such laws, or penalties for failure to comply, could significantly increase our costs. For example, vehicle manufacturers are subject to government-mandated fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards, which continue to change and become more stringent over time. Failure of a manufacturer to develop passenger vehicles and light trucks that meet these and other government standards could subject the manufacturer to substantial penalties, increase the cost of vehicles sold to us, and adversely affect our ability to market and sell vehicles to meet consumer needs and desires, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition or cash flows.
We are subject to risks related to the provision of employee health care benefits, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
We use a combination of insurance and self-insurance for health care plans. We record expenses under those plans based on estimates of the costs of expected claims, administrative costs, stop-loss insurance premiums, and expected health care trends. Actual costs under these plans are subject to variability that is dependent upon participant enrollment, demographics and the actual costs of claims made. Negative trends in any of these areas, including negative trends arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, could cause us to incur additional unplanned health care costs, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. In addition, if enrollment in our health care plans increases significantly, the additional costs that we will incur may be significant enough to materially affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are, and expect to continue to be, subject to legal and administrative proceedings, which, if the outcomes are adverse to us, could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flows, reputation and prospects.
We are involved and expect to continue to be involved in numerous legal proceedings arising out of the conduct of our business, including litigation with customers, employment-related lawsuits, class actions, purported class actions, and actions brought by governmental authorities. We do not believe that the ultimate resolution of any known matters will have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows or prospects. However, the results of these matters cannot be predicted with certainty, and an unfavorable resolution of one or more of these matters could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
A decline in our credit rating or a general disruption in the credit markets could negatively impact our liquidity and ability to conduct our operations.
A deterioration of our credit rating, or a general disruption in the credit markets, could limit our ability to obtain credit on terms acceptable to us, or at all. In addition, uncertain economic conditions or the re-pricing of certain credit risks may make it more difficult for us to obtain one or more types of funding in the amounts, or at rates considered acceptable to us, at any given time. Our inability to access necessary or desirable funding, or to enter into certain related transactions, at times and at costs deemed appropriate by us, could have a negative impact on our liquidity and our ability to conduct our operations. Any of these developments could also reduce the ability or willingness of the financial institutions that have extended credit commitments to us, or that have entered into hedge or similar transactions with us, to fulfill their obligations to us, which also could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity and our ability to conduct our operations.
We are subject to risks associated with imported product restrictions or limitations, foreign trade and currency valuations.
Our business involves the sale of vehicles, parts or vehicles composed of parts that are manufactured outside the United States. As a result, our operations are subject to risks of doing business outside of the United States and importing merchandise, including import duties, exchange rates, trade restrictions, work stoppages, natural or man-made disasters, and general political and socio-economic conditions in other countries. The United States or the countries from which our products are imported may, from time to time, impose new quotas, duties, tariffs or other restrictions or limitations, or adjust presently prevailing quotas, duties or tariffs. The imposition of new, or adjustments to prevailing, quotas, duties, tariffs or other restrictions or limitations could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Relative weakness of the U.S. dollar against foreign currencies in the future may result in an increase in costs to us and in the retail price of such vehicles or parts, which could discourage consumers from purchasing such vehicles and adversely impact our revenues and profitability.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
We lease our corporate headquarters, which is located at 2905 Premiere Parkway, NW, Suite 300, Duluth, Georgia 30097. As of December 31, 2021, our operations encompassed 155 franchised dealership locations, seven used car centers, 35 collision repair centers, one used vehicle wholesale business and one auto auction throughout 15 states as follows:
|Dealerships|| ||Collision Repair Centers|
|Dealership Group Brand Name:||Owned||Leased|| ||Owned||Leased|
|Coggin Automotive Group||12 ||4 ||(a)||5 ||2 |
|Courtesy Autogroup||6 ||2 ||2 ||— |
|Crown Automotive Company||10 ||4 ||(c)||2 ||— |
|David McDavid Auto Group||6 ||— ||2 ||1 |
|Greenville Automotive Group||4 ||— ||1 ||— |
|Hare, Bill Estes & Kahlo Automotive Groups||9 ||— ||1 ||— |
|Larry H. Miller Dealerships||53||8||8 ||3 |
|Mike Shaw, Stevinson & Arapahoe Automotive Groups||7 ||5 ||— ||— |
|Nalley Automotive Group||16 ||1 ||4 ||1 |
|Park Place Automotive||5 ||3 ||(b)||2 ||— |
|Plaza Motor Company||6 ||1 ||(b)||— ||1 |
| Total||134 ||28 ||27 ||8 |
(a)Includes one dealership that leases a new vehicle facility and operates a separate used vehicle facility that is owned.
(b)Includes one dealership location where we lease the underlying land but own the building facilities on that land.
(c)Includes two dealership location where we lease the underlying land but own the building facilities on that land.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
From time to time, we and our dealerships are involved and will continue to be involved in various claims relating to, and arising out of, our business and our operations. These claims may involve, but are not limited to, financial and other audits by vehicle manufacturers or lenders, and certain federal, state, and local government authorities, which relate primarily to (i) incentive and warranty payments received from vehicle manufacturers, or allegations of violations of manufacturer agreements or policies, (ii) compliance with lender rules and covenants and (iii) payments made to government authorities relating to federal, state, and local taxes, as well as compliance with other government regulations. Claims may also arise through litigation, government proceedings, and other dispute resolution processes. Such claims, including class actions, can relate to, but are not limited to, the practice of charging administrative fees, employment-related matters, truth-in-lending practices, contractual disputes, actions brought by governmental authorities, and other matters. We evaluate pending and threatened claims and establish loss contingency reserves based upon outcomes we currently believe to be probable and reasonably estimable. We do not believe that the ultimate resolution of the claims we are involved in will have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition, cash flow and prospects.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant's Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (the "NYSE") under the symbol "ABG."
We have not paid any dividends since 2008. On February 28, 2022, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the NYSE was $194.11 per share, and there were approximately 503 record holders of our common stock.
Our credit agreement with Bank of America, N.A. ("Bank of America"), as administrative agent, and the other agents and lenders party thereto (the "2019 Senior Credit Facility") and the Indentures governing the Senior Notes (as defined below) (collectively, the "Indentures") currently allow for us to make certain restricted payments, including payments to repurchase shares of our common stock, among other things, subject to our continued compliance with certain covenants. For additional information, see the "Covenants and Defaults" section within "Liquidity and Capital Resources."
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
On January 30, 2014, our Board of Directors authorized our current share repurchase program (the "Repurchase Program"). On February 14, 2022, our Board of Directors increased the Company's common stock share repurchase authorization by $100.0 million, to $200.0 million for the repurchase of our common stock in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions or in other manners as permitted by federal security laws and other legal and contractual requirements.
Share repurchases would be implemented through purchases made from time to time in either the open market or private transactions. The share repurchases could include purchases pursuant to a written trading plan in accordance with Rule 10b5-1 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which allows companies to repurchase shares of stock at times when they might otherwise be prevented from doing so by securities laws or under self-imposed trading blackout periods. The extent that the Company repurchases its shares, the number of shares and the timing of any repurchases will depend on general market conditions, legal requirements and other corporate considerations. The repurchase program may be modified, suspended or terminated at any time without prior notice.
During the year ended December 31, 2021, we did not repurchase any shares of our common stock under the Repurchase Program. We did repurchase 65,937 shares of our common stock for $10.4 million from employees in connection with a net share settlement feature of employee equity-based awards. As of December 31, 2021, we had remaining authorization to repurchase up to an additional $100.0 million of our common stock. Any repurchases will be subject to applicable limitations in our debt or other financing agreements that may be in existence from time to time.
The following graph furnished by us shows the value as of December 31, 2021, of a $100 investment in our common stock made on December 31, 2016, as compared with similar investments based on (i) the value of the S&P 500 Index (with dividends reinvested) and (ii) the value of a market-weighted Peer Group Index composed of the common stock of AutoNation, Inc.; Sonic Automotive, Inc.; Group 1 Automotive, Inc.; Penske Automotive Group, Inc.; and Lithia Motors, Inc., in each case on a "total return" basis assuming the reinvestment of any dividends. The market-weighted Peer Group Index values were calculated from the beginning of the performance period. The historical stock performance shown below is not necessarily indicative of future expected performance.
The forgoing graph is not, and shall not be deemed to be, filed as part of our annual report on Form 10-K. Such graph is not, and will not be deemed, filed or incorporated by reference into any filing by us under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, except to the extent specifically incorporated by reference therein by us.
Item 6. Reserved
Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
This MD&A should be read in conjunction with the accompanying audited consolidated financial statements and notes. Forward-looking statements in this MD&A are not guarantees of future performance and may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Refer to the "Forward-Looking Statements"] and Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors for a discussion of these risks and uncertainties. The discussion of our financial condition and results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2019 is included in Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.
We are one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States. As of December 31, 2021, through our Dealerships segment, we owned and operated 205 new vehicle franchises (155 dealership locations), representing 31 brands of automobiles, 35 collision centers, seven stand-alone used vehicle dealerships, one used vehicle wholesale business and one auto auction, within 15 states. Our stores offer an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicles; parts and service, which include repair and maintenance services, replacement parts, and collision repair service; and finance and insurance products. The finance and insurance products are provided by independent third parties and our recently acquired F&I product provider, TCA. The F&I products offered by TCA are primarily sold through LHM Dealerships. For the year ended December 31, 2021, our new vehicle revenue brand mix consisted of 39% imports, 44% luxury, and 17% domestic brands. As a result of the LHM Acquisition on December 17, 2021, as outlined below, the Company now reflects its operations in two reportable segments: Dealerships and TCA.
Our Dealerships segment revenues are derived primarily from: (i) the sale of new vehicles; (ii) the sale of used vehicles to individual retail customers ("used retail") and to other dealers at auction ("wholesale") (the terms "used retail" and "wholesale" collectively referred to as "used"); (iii) repair and maintenance services, including collision repair, the sale of automotive replacement parts, and the reconditioning of used vehicles (collectively referred to as "parts and service"); and (iv) the arrangement of third-party vehicle financing and the sale of a number of vehicle protection products. F&I products are offered by dealerships to customers in connection with the purchase of vehicles through either TCA or independent third parties. F&I revenue recorded by the Dealerships segment related to TCA products is eliminated upon consolidation. We evaluate the results of our new and used vehicle sales based on unit volumes and gross profit per vehicle sold, our parts and service operations based on aggregate gross profit, and our F&I business based on F&I gross profit per vehicle sold.
Our dealerships gross profit margin varies with our revenue mix. Historically, the sales of new vehicles generally results in a lower gross profit margin than used vehicle sales, sales of parts and service, and sales of F&I products. As a result, when used vehicle, parts and service, and F&I revenue increase as a percentage of total revenue, we expect our overall gross profit margin to increase.
Our TCA segment revenues, reflected in F&I Revenues, are derived from the sale of various vehicle protection products including vehicle service contracts, guaranteed asset protection insurance, prepaid maintenance contracts, vehicle theft assistance contracts and appearance protection contracts. These products are sold primarily through LHM Dealerships. TCA's F&I Revenues are supplemented with investment gains or losses and income earned associated with the performance of TCA's investment portfolio.
Our TCA segment gross profit margin can vary due to incurred claims expense and the amortization of deferred acquisition costs expensed over the life of a customer contract. Certain F&I products may result in higher TCA gross profit margins. Therefore, the product mix of F&I products sold by TCA can affect the gross profits earned. In addition, interest rate volatility based on economic and market conditions outside the control of the Company, may increase or reduce TCA segment gross profit margins as well as the fair market values of certain securities within our investment portfolio. Fair market values typically fluctuate inversely to the fluctuations in interest rates.
Selling, general, and administrative ("SG&A") expenses consist primarily of fixed and incentive-based compensation, advertising, rent, insurance, utilities, and other customary operating expenses. A significant portion of our cost structure is variable (such as sales commissions) or controllable (such as advertising), which we believe allows us to adapt to changes in the retail environment over the long-term. We evaluate commissions paid to salespeople as a percentage of retail vehicle gross profit, advertising expense on a per vehicle retailed ("PVR") basis, and all other SG&A expenses in the aggregate as a percentage of total gross profit. Commissions expense paid by TCA to our affiliated dealerships and reflected as F&I Revenue in our Dealerships segment is eliminated upon consolidation.
Our continued organic growth is dependent upon the execution of our balanced automotive retailing and service business strategy, the continued strength of our brand mix, and the production and allocation of desirable vehicles from the automobile manufacturers whose brands we sell. Our vehicle sales have historically fluctuated with product availability as well as local and national economic conditions, including consumer confidence, availability of consumer credit, fuel prices, and employment levels.
In addition, our ability to sell certain new and used vehicles can be negatively impacted by a number of factors, some of which are outside of our control. Manufacturers continue to be hampered by the lack of availability of parts and key components from suppliers such as semi-conductor chips, which has disrupted production and impacted new vehicle inventory levels. In addition, as a result of the COVID-19 global pandemic, certain vehicle manufacturers have needed to slow or temporarily halt assembly lines for the safety of their workers. We cannot predict with any certainty how long the automotive retail industry will continue to be subject to these production slowdowns or when normalized production will resume at these manufacturers. We continue to monitor and respond as necessary to the Company’s operational needs during the ongoing outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the resulting economic uncertainty.
Larry H. Miller Acquisition
On September 28, 2021, Asbury Automotive Group, LLC (“Purchaser”), a Delaware limited liability company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, entered into (i) a Purchase Agreement (the “Equity Purchase Agreement”) with certain members of the Larry H. Miller Dealership family of entities; (ii) a Real Estate Purchase and Sale Agreement (the “Real Estate Purchase Agreement”) with Miller Family Real Estate, L.L.C. and (iii) a Purchase Agreement (the “TCA Purchase Agreement” and together with the Equity Purchase Agreement and the Real Estate Purchase Agreement, the “Transaction Agreements”) with certain equity owners of the Total Care Auto, Powered by Landcar (“TCA”) business affiliated with the Larry H. Miller Dealership family of entities. Pursuant to the Transaction Agreements, we agreed to acquire the equity interests of, and the real property related to (collectively, the “Transactions”), the businesses of the Larry H. Miller Dealerships ("LHM") and TCA (collectively, the “Businesses”), each described in the Equity Purchase Agreement, the Real Estate Purchase Agreement and the TCA Purchase Agreement, for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $3.48 billion, comprising approximately $2.51 billion of goodwill and franchise rights intangible assets, $792.6 million of property and equipment, and $285.0 million in inventories less $105.6 million of liabilities assumed, net of other assets acquired.
On December 17, 2021, the Company completed the acquisition of the Businesses, thereby acquiring 54 new vehicle dealerships, seven used cars dealerships, 11 collision centers, a used vehicle wholesale business, the real property related thereto, and the entities comprising the TCA business for a total purchase price of $3.48 billion. The real property was acquired in escrow, to be released, together with the related portion of the purchase price, subject to the satisfaction of certain title related conditions. The purchase price was financed through a combination of cash, proceeds from the issuance of common stock and borrowings including the issuance of the 2029 Senior Notes and 2032 Senior Notes, the drawdown on the 2021 Real Estate Facility and the 2019 Senior Credit Facility and other floor plan borrowings.
Park Place Acquisition
On December 11, 2019, the Company entered into (1) an Asset Purchase Agreement (the "2019 Asset Purchase Agreement") with certain members of the Park Place Dealership family of entities, Park Place Mid-Cities, Ltd., a Texas limited partnership, and the identified principal (collectively, "Park Place") and (2) a Real Estate Purchase Agreement (the "Real Estate Purchase Agreement" and, together with the 2019 Asset Purchase Agreement, the "2019 Park Place Agreements") with certain members of the Park Place Dealership family of entities to acquire substantially all of the assets of, and certain real property related to, the Park Place business. The 2019 Asset Purchase Agreement included the purchase of 19 franchises (3 Mercedes-Benz, 3 Sprinter, 2 Lexus, 2 Jaguar, 2 Land Rover, 1 Porsche, and 1 Volvo and 5 ultra luxury brands including 1 Bentley, 1 Rolls Royce, 1 McLaren, 1 Maserati and 1 Karma), two collision centers and an auto auction. On March 24, 2020, Asbury delivered notice to the sellers terminating the 2019 Park Place Agreements pursuant to the terms thereof in exchange for the payment of $10.0 million of liquidated damages. Please refer to Liquidity and Capital Resources for additional details regarding the impact on financing transactions.
As a result of the Company's efforts to mitigate the financial impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, along with a strong May and June 2020 performance, the Company reengaged on the Park Place Dealership group acquisition under more favorable pricing and more flexible financing terms, including limiting the purchase of luxury dealership franchises to those most aligned with the Company's core strategic business. On July 6, 2020, the Company entered into an Asset Purchase Agreement (the "Revised Asset Purchase Agreement") with Park Place to acquire substantially all of the assets of, and lease the real property related to, 12 new vehicle dealership franchises (3 Mercedes-Benz, 3 Sprinter, 2 Lexus, 1 Jaguar, 1 Land Rover, 1 Porsche, and 1 Volvo), two collision centers and an auto auction comprising the Park Place Dealership group (collectively, the "Park Place acquisition") for a purchase price of $889.9 million. The Park Place acquisition was completed on August 24, 2020. The purchase price was financed through a combination of cash, floor plan facilities and seller financing. In September 2020, the
Company redeemed the amounts outstanding related to the seller financing. Certain of the leased real property was subsequently acquired in May 2021 for $217.1 million.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES AND SIGNIFICANT ESTIMATES
Preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, requires management to make estimates and assumptions, that affect the amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities, as of the date of the financial statements, and reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the periods presented. On an ongoing basis, management evaluates their estimates and assumptions and the effects of any such revisions are reflected in the financial statements, in the period in which they are determined to be necessary. Actual outcomes could differ materially from those estimates in a manner that could have a material effect on our Consolidated Financial Statements. Set forth below are the policies and estimates that we have identified as critical to our business operations and understanding our results of operations, based on the high degree of judgment or complexity in their application.
Goodwill and Manufacturer Franchise Rights—
Goodwill represents the excess cost of an acquired business over the fair market value of its identifiable assets and liabilities. We have determined, based on how we integrate acquisitions into our business, how the components of our business share resources and interact with one another, and how we review the results of our operations, that we have several geographic market-based operating segments. We have determined the dealerships in each of our operating segments are components that are aggregated into several geographic market-based reporting units for the purpose of testing goodwill for impairment, as they (i) have similar economic characteristics, (ii) offer similar products and services (all of our franchised dealerships offer new and used vehicles, parts and service, and arrange for third-party vehicle financing and the sale of insurance products), (iii) have similar customers, (iv) have similar distribution and marketing practices (all of our dealerships distribute products and services through dealership facilities that market to customers in similar ways) and (v) operate under similar regulatory environments.
Our only other significant identifiable intangible assets are our rights under franchise agreements with manufacturers, which are recorded at an individual franchise level. The fair value of our manufacturer franchise rights are determined at the acquisition date, by discounting the projected cash flows specific to each franchise. We have determined that manufacturer franchise rights have an indefinite life as there are no economic, contractual or other factors that limit their useful lives, and they are expected to generate cash flows indefinitely due to the historically long lives of the manufacturers' brand names. Furthermore, to the extent that any agreements evidencing our manufacturer franchise rights would expire, we expect that we would be able to renew those agreements in the ordinary course of business. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we performed quantitative impairment tests as of March 31, 2020, and identified eleven dealerships with franchise rights carrying values that exceeded their fair values, and as a result, recorded non-cash impairment charges of $23.0 million. No franchise right impairments were identified in 2021.
We do not amortize goodwill and other intangible assets that are deemed to have indefinite lives. We review goodwill and manufacturer franchise rights for impairment annually as of October 1st, or more often if events or circumstances indicate that any impairment may have occurred. We are subject to financial statement risk to the extent that goodwill becomes impaired due to decreases in the fair value of our automotive retail business or manufacturer franchise rights become impaired due to decreases in the fair value of our individual franchises.
F&I Chargeback Reserves—
We receive commissions from third-party lending and insurance institutions for arranging customer financing and from the sale of vehicle service contracts, GAP insurance, and other vehicle protection products. F&I commissions are recorded at the time the associated vehicle is sold.
We may be charged back for F&I commissions in the event a contract is prepaid, defaulted upon, or terminated ("chargebacks"). F&I commissions, net of estimated future chargebacks, are included in Revenues - Finance and Insurance, net in the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income. We reserve for chargebacks on finance and vehicle service and other protection product contract commissions received. The reserve is established based on historical operating results and the termination provisions of the applicable contracts and is evaluated on a product-by-product basis.
Our F&I cash chargebacks for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019 were $45.5 million, $38.0 million, and $40.6 million, respectively. Our chargeback reserves were $50.4 million and $47.3 million as of December 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively. Total chargebacks as a percentage of F&I commissions for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020, and 2019, were 11%, 12%, and 13%, respectively. A 100 basis point change in our estimated reserve rate for future chargebacks, would
change our finance and insurance chargeback reserve by approximately $4.2 million as of December 31, 2021. Chargeback reserves estimated for products underwritten by TCA are eliminated in consolidation.
CONSOLIDATED RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The Year Ended December 31, 2021 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2020
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
| ||(Dollars in millions, except per share data)|
|New vehicle||$||4,934.1 ||$||3,767.4 ||$||1,166.7 ||31 ||%|
|Used vehicle||3,315.6 ||2,169.5 ||1,146.1 ||53 ||%|
|Parts and service||1,182.9 ||889.8 ||293.1 ||33 ||%|
|Finance and insurance, net||405.1 ||305.1 ||100.0 ||33 ||%|
|TOTAL REVENUE||9,837.7 ||7,131.8 ||2,705.9 ||38 ||%|
|New vehicle||490.5 ||218.5 ||272.0 ||124 ||%|
|Used vehicle||288.3 ||156.6 ||131.7 ||84 ||%|
|Parts and service||721.9 ||543.2 ||178.7 ||33 ||%|
|Finance and insurance, net||401.5 ||305.1 ||96.4 ||32 ||%|
|TOTAL GROSS PROFIT||1,902.2 ||1,223.4 ||678.8 ||55 ||%|
|Selling, general, and administrative||1,073.9 ||781.9 ||292.0 ||37 ||%|
|Depreciation and amortization||41.9 ||38.5 ||3.4 ||9 ||%|
|Franchise rights impairment||— ||23.0 ||(23.0)||(100)||%|
|Other operating (income) expense, net||(5.4)||9.2 ||(14.6)||(159)||%|
|INCOME FROM OPERATIONS||791.8 ||370.8 ||421.0 ||114 ||%|
|OTHER EXPENSES (INCOME):|
|Floor plan interest expense||8.2 ||17.7 ||(9.5)||(54)||%|
|Other interest expense, net||93.9 ||56.7 ||37.2 ||66 ||%|
|Loss on extinguishment of long-term debt, net||— ||20.6 ||(20.6)||(100)||%|
|Gain on dealership divestitures, net||(8.0)||(62.3)||54.3 ||87 ||%|
|Total other expenses, net||94.1 ||32.7 ||61.4 ||188 ||%|
|INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES||697.7 ||338.1 ||359.6 ||106 ||%|
|Income tax expense||165.3 ||83.7 ||81.6 ||97 ||%|
|NET INCOME||$||532.4 ||$||254.4 ||$||278.0 ||109 ||%|
|Net income per common share—Diluted||$||26.49 ||$||13.18 ||$||13.31 ||101 ||%|
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,|
|REVENUE MIX PERCENTAGES:|
|New vehicles||50.2 ||%||52.8 ||%|
|Used retail vehicles||31.1 ||%||27.0 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale||2.6 ||%||3.4 ||%|
|Parts and service||12.0 ||%||12.5 ||%|
|Finance and insurance, net||4.1 ||%||4.3 ||%|
|Total revenue||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|GROSS PROFIT MIX PERCENTAGES:|
|New vehicles||25.8 ||%||17.9 ||%|
|Used retail vehicles||13.7 ||%||11.9 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale||1.4 ||%||0.9 ||%|
|Parts and service||38.0 ||%||44.4 ||%|
|Finance and insurance, net||21.1 ||%||24.9 ||%|
|Total gross profit||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|GROSS PROFIT MARGIN||19.3 ||%||17.2 ||%|
|SG&A EXPENSES AS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS PROFIT||56.5 ||%||63.9 ||%|
Total revenue during 2021 increased by $2.71 billion (38%) compared to 2020, due to a $1.17 billion (31%) increase in new vehicle revenue, a $1.15 billion (53%) increase in used vehicle revenue, a $293.1 million (33%) increase in parts and service revenue and a $100.0 million (33%) increase in F&I revenue. The $678.8 million (55%) increase in gross profit during 2021 was the result of a $272.0 million (124%) increase in new vehicle gross profit, a $131.7 million (84%) increase in used vehicle gross profit, a $178.7 million (33%) increase in parts and service gross profit and a $96.4 million (32%) increase in F&I gross profit. Our total gross profit margin increased 210 basis points from 17.2% in 2020 to 19.3% in 2021.
Income from operations during 2021 increased by $421.0 million (114%) compared to 2020, primarily due to a $678.8 million (55%) increase in gross profit, a $23.0 million decrease in franchise rights impairment, a $14.6 million decrease in other operating expenses, net, partially offset by a $292.0 million (37%) increase in selling, general, and administrative expenses and a $3.4 million (9%) increase in depreciation and amortization expenses.
Total other expenses, net increased by $61.4 million (188%) in 2021, primarily due to a $54.3 million decrease in gain on dealership divestitures, a $37.2 million increase in other interest expense, net, partially offset by a $9.5 million decrease in floor plan interest expense and a $20.6 million decrease in loss on extinguishment of debt. As a result, income before income taxes increased by $359.6 million (106%) to $697.7 million in 2021. The $81.6 million (97%) increase in income tax expense was primarily attributable to the 106% increase in income before taxes, partially offset by a 110 basis point decrease in the 2021 effective tax rate. Overall, net income increased by $278.0 million (109%) from $254.4 million in 2020 to $532.4 million in 2021.
We assess the organic growth of our revenue and gross profit on a same store basis. We believe that our assessment on a same store basis represents an important indicator of comparative financial performance and provides relevant information to assess our performance. As such, for the following discussion, same store amounts consist of information from dealerships for identical months in each comparative period, commencing with the first month we owned the dealership. Additionally, amounts related to divested dealerships are excluded from each comparative period.
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
| ||(Dollars in millions, except for per vehicle data)|
|Luxury||$||2,183.0 ||$||1,450.1 ||$||732.9 ||51 ||%|
|Import||1,935.8 ||1,550.6 ||385.2 ||25 ||%|
|Domestic||815.3 ||766.7 ||48.6 ||6 ||%|
|Total new vehicle revenue||$||4,934.1 ||$||3,767.4 ||$||1,166.7 ||31 ||%|
|Luxury||$||241.1 ||$||113.7 ||$||127.4 ||112 ||%|
|Import||175.3 ||59.7 ||115.6 ||194 ||%|
|Domestic||74.1 ||45.1 ||29.0 ||64 ||%|
|Total new vehicle gross profit||$||490.5 ||$||218.5 ||$||272.0 ||124 ||%|
|New vehicle units:|
|Luxury||34,648 ||25,259 ||9,389 ||37 ||%|
|Import||58,413 ||52,201 ||6,212 ||12 ||%|
|Domestic||16,849 ||17,705 ||(856)||(5)||%|
|Total new vehicle units||109,910 ||95,165 ||14,745 ||15 ||%|
|Luxury||$||1,597.4 ||$||1,409.3 ||$||188.1 ||13 ||%|
|Import||1,847.6 ||1,534.8 ||312.8 ||20 ||%|
|Domestic||730.2 ||734.8 ||(4.6)||(1)||%|
|Total new vehicle revenue||$||4,175.2 ||$||3,678.9 ||$||496.3 ||13 ||%|
|Luxury||$||175.2 ||$||110.6 ||$||64.6 ||58 ||%|
|Import||163.8 ||59.4 ||104.4 ||176 ||%|
|Domestic||64.8 ||43.2 ||21.6 ||50 ||%|
|Total new vehicle gross profit||$||403.8 ||$||213.2 ||$||190.6 ||89 ||%|
|New vehicle units:|
|Luxury||25,647 ||24,526 ||1,121 ||5 ||%|
|Import||56,227 ||51,698 ||4,529 ||9 ||%|
|Domestic||15,316 ||17,009 ||(1,693)||(10)||%|
|Total new vehicle units||97,190 ||93,233 ||3,957 ||4 ||%|
New Vehicle Metrics—
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
|Revenue per new vehicle sold||$||44,892 ||$||39,588 ||$||5,304 ||13 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||4,463 ||$||2,296 ||$||2,167 ||94 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||9.9 ||%||5.8 ||%||4.1 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||6,959 ||$||4,501 ||$||2,458 ||55 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||11.0 ||%||7.8 ||%||3.2 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||3,001 ||$||1,144 ||$||1,857 ||162 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||9.1 ||%||3.9 ||%||5.2 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||4,398 ||$||2,547 ||$||1,851 ||73 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||9.1 ||%||5.9 ||%||3.2 ||%|
|Revenue per new vehicle sold||$||42,959 ||$||39,459 ||$||3,500 ||9 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||4,155 ||$||2,287 ||$||1,868 ||82 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||9.7 ||%||5.8 ||%||3.9 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||6,831 ||$||4,510 ||$||2,321 ||51 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||11.0 ||%||7.8 ||%||3.2 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||2,913 ||$||1,149 ||$||1,764 ||154 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||8.9 ||%||3.9 ||%||5.0 ||%|
|Gross profit per new vehicle sold||$||4,231 ||$||2,540 ||$||1,691 ||67 ||%|
|New vehicle gross margin||8.9 ||%||5.9 ||%||3.0 ||%|
New vehicle revenue increased by $1.17 billion (31%), as a result of a 15% increase in new vehicle unit sales and a 13% increase in revenue per new vehicle sold. Same store new vehicle revenue increased by $496.3 million (13%) as a result of a 4% increase in new vehicle units sold and a 9% increase in revenue per new vehicle sold.
Same store new vehicle gross profit in 2021 increased by $190.6 million (89%), as a result of a 82% increase in gross profit per new vehicle sold and a 4% increase in unit volumes. Same store new vehicle gross margin increased 390 basis points to 9.7% in 2021, primarily as a result of a supply shortage for much of 2021 caused by manufacturer production challenges caused by the semi-conductor shortage and the COVID-19 pandemic. We finished 2021 with a eight day supply of new vehicle inventory which is below our targeted days supply primarily as a result of these manufacturer production challenges.
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
| ||(Dollars in millions, except for per vehicle data)|
|Used vehicle retail revenues||$||3,055.9 ||$||1,930.0 ||$||1,125.9 ||58 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale revenues||259.7 ||239.5 ||20.2 ||8 ||%|
|Used vehicle revenue||$||3,315.6 ||$||2,169.5 ||$||1,146.1 ||53 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail gross profit||$||262.0 ||$||145.3 ||$||116.7 ||80 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale gross profit||26.3 ||11.3 ||15.0 ||133 ||%|
|Used vehicle gross profit||$||288.3 ||$||156.6 ||$||131.7 ||84 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail units:|
|Used vehicle retail units||105,206 ||80,537 ||24,669 ||31 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail revenues||$||2,621.9 ||$||1,872.1 ||$||749.8 ||40 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale revenues||175.1 ||235.2 ||(60.1)||(26)||%|
|Used vehicle revenue||$||2,797.0 ||$||2,107.3 ||$||689.7 ||33 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail gross profit||$||226.5 ||$||141.9 ||$||84.6 ||60 ||%|
|Used vehicle wholesale gross profit||18.9 ||11.4 ||7.5 ||66 ||%|
|Used vehicle gross profit||$||245.4 ||$||153.3 ||$||92.1 ||60 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail units:|
|Used vehicle retail units||93,803 ||78,144 ||15,659 ||20 ||%|
Used Vehicle Metrics—
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
|Revenue per used vehicle retailed||$||29,047 ||$||23,964 ||$||5,083 ||21 ||%|
|Gross profit per used vehicle retailed||$||2,490 ||$||1,804 ||$||686 ||38 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail gross margin||8.6 ||%||7.5 ||%||1.1 ||%|
|Revenue per used vehicle retailed||$||27,951 ||$||23,957 ||$||3,994 ||17 ||%|
|Gross profit per used vehicle retailed||$||2,415 ||$||1,816 ||$||599 ||33 ||%|
|Used vehicle retail gross margin||8.6 ||%||7.6 ||%||1.0 ||%|
Used vehicle revenue increased by $1.15 billion (53%), due to a $1.13 billion (58%) increase in used retail revenue and a $20.2 million (8%) increase in used vehicle wholesale revenue. Same store used vehicle revenue increased by $689.7 million (33%) due to an $749.8 million (40%) increase in used vehicle retail revenue, partially offset by a $60.1 million (26%) decrease in used vehicle wholesale revenues.
In 2021, total Company and same store used vehicle retail gross profit margins both increased 110 and 100 basis points, respectively, to 8.6%. We primarily attribute the increases in used vehicle retail gross profit margin to increased demand for used vehicles as a result of new vehicle inventory shortages caused by semiconductor supply chain and COVID-19 disruptions.
We believe that our used vehicle inventory continues to be well-aligned with current consumer demand, with approximately 34 days of supply as of December 31, 2021.
Parts and Service—
| ||For the Year Ended December 31,||Increase|
| ||(Dollars in millions)|
|Parts and service revenue||$||1,184.3 ||$||889.8 ||$||294.5 ||33 ||%|
|Parts and service gross profit:|
|Customer pay||$||434.3 ||$||310.6 ||$||123.7 ||40 ||%|
|Warranty||98.0 ||92.8 ||5.2 ||6 ||%|
|Wholesale parts||34.3 ||22.1 ||12.2 ||55 ||%|
|Parts and service gross profit, excluding reconditioning and preparation||$||566.6 ||$||425.5 ||$||141.1 ||33 ||%|
|Parts and service gross margin, excluding reconditioning and preparation||47.8 ||%||47.8 ||%||— ||%|
|Reconditioning and preparation *||153.6 ||117.7 ||35.9 ||31 ||%|
|Total parts and service gross profit||$||720.2 ||$||543.2 ||$||177.0 |