Car-Mart creates role to oversee acquisition strategy

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 903 views 

Rogers-based America’s Car-Mart Inc. has created a new role to lead the company’s acquisitions and named former dealership owner Steve Taylor to the position of director of acquisitions, according to a Tuesday (Oct. 18) news release.

Taylor joined the buy here, pay here used car dealer when Car-Mart acquired his dealerships in March 2020. The Taylor Motors deal was announced in December 2019 and comprised the first dealership group the company purchased. Taylor was vice president before being promoted to director of acquisitions.

“Acquisitions of well-managed dealerships provide significant growth opportunities for America’s Car-Mart,” CEO Jeff Williams said. “Steve Taylor has been an outstanding operator in our industry for over 25 years. After helping us complete the March 2020 acquisition of his company, Taylor Motors, Steve will be moving to this new role leading Car-Mart’s acquisitions strategy. Steve will leverage his extensive industry knowledge and his long-established relationships with strong operators and help us expand our footprint. We are truly fortunate to have Steve leading the charge.

“We expect acquisitions to continue to generate outstanding returns for our shareholders, an exit strategy for owner-operators and future growth opportunities for their associates,” Williams said.

He listed three ways customers receive credit to purchase vehicles, including indirect financing from third-party finance companies, from buy-here-pay-here companies and from smaller owner-operated dealerships.

“In our markets, the best competitors have generally been a subset of the owner-operated dealerships – those operated by individuals who have chosen not to borrow excessively, focus on getting a sound automobile to their customers on reasonable terms and provide both friendly service and disciplined collections,” Williams added. “We believe we have developed a successful acquisition template which works for both parties.”

In Car-Mart’s Aug. 17 earnings report for the first quarter of fiscal 2023, Williams noted the company plans to continue to acquire dealerships to increase its footprint. As of July 31, Car-Mart had 154 dealerships, up three from the same time last year. Asked about Car-Mart’s acquisition plans, Williams reiterated the company’s plans to look to acquisitions to expand its footprint but does not have a set timeline or number currently.

“Exit strategies have always been a challenge for dealers in our industry,” Taylor said. “The acquisition of my company by America’s Car-Mart has been a very positive experience for my team here in Illinois. As an acquired dealer myself, I’m in a unique position to talk to other dealers and share my personal experiences. I’m excited to start talking to good operators who are interested in hearing about exit options that may exist for them as we continue to expand the Car-Mart brand.”

Shares of Car-Mart were trading Tuesday at $62.99, down 11 cents or 0.17%. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has ranged between $58.67 and $129.50.