10-K 1 abg201510-k.htm FORM 10-K 10-K
 
 
 
 
 
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
 
 
 
FORM 10-K
 
 
 
 
 
(Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015

or
o
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)
 
 
 
 
 
Delaware
 
01-0609375
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
2905 Premiere Parkway, NW, Suite 300
Duluth, Georgia
 
30097
(Current address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(770) 418-8200
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
 
 
 
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per share
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None.
 
 
 
 
 
a
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o   No x
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 Web site, 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 if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Large Accelerated Filer
 
x
  
Accelerated filer
 
o
 
 
 
 
Non-Accelerated Filer
 
o
  
Smaller reporting company
 
o
Indicate by check mark whether registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x
Based on the closing price of the registrant’s common stock as of June 30, 2015, the aggregate market value of the common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $2,383.2 million (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 18, 2016 was 24,733,854.
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 2016 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, 2015

 
 
Page
PART I
 
 
 
PART II
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART III
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PART IV
 
 
 
 










PART I.
Forward-Looking Information

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:

our ability to execute our business strategy;
the annual rate of new vehicle sales in the U.S.;
our ability to further improve our operating cash flows, and the availability of capital and liquidity;
our estimated future capital expenditures;
the duration of the economic recovery process and its impact on our revenues and expenses;
our parts and service revenue due to, among other things, improvements in manufacturing quality;
the variable nature of significant components of our cost structure;
our ability to limit our exposure to regional economic downturns due to our geographic diversity and brand mix;
manufacturers’ willingness to continue to use incentive programs to drive demand for their product offerings;
our ability to leverage our common systems, infrastructure and processes in a cost-efficient manner;
our capital allocation strategy, including as it relates to acquisitions and divestitures, stock repurchases, dividends and capital expenditures;
the continued availability of financing, including floor plan financing for inventory;
the ability of consumers to secure vehicle financing at favorable rates;
the growth of import and luxury brands over the long-term;
our ability to mitigate any future negative trends in new vehicle sales; and
our ability to increase our cash flow and net income as a result of the foregoing and other factors.
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:

changes in general economic and business 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 and interest rates;
our ability to execute our balanced automotive retailing and service business strategy;
adverse conditions affecting the vehicle manufactures 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;

4


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;
failure of our management information systems or any security breaches;
changes in laws and regulations governing the operation of automobile franchises, including trade restrictions, consumer protections, accounting standards, taxation requirements, and environmental laws;
adverse results from litigation or other similar proceedings involving us;
our ability to generate sufficient cash flows, maintain our liquidity and obtain any necessary additional funds for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions, stock repurchases and/or dividends, debt maturity payments, and other corporate purposes;
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;
significant disruptions in the production and delivery of vehicles and parts for any reason, including natural disasters, product recalls, work stoppages, significant property loss or other occurrences that are outside of our control;
our ability to execute our initiatives and other strategies; and
our ability to leverage gains from our dealership portfolio.
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.
Additional Information
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 web site at http://www.asburyauto.com as soon as practical after such reports are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”). In addition, the proxy statement that will be delivered to our stockholders in connection with our 2016 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, when filed, will also be available on our web site, and at the URL stated in such proxy statement. We also make available on our web site 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 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 web site.
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 web site, 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 web site is http://www.sec.gov.

5


Unless otherwise specified, information contained on our web site, available by hyperlink from our web site or on the Commission’s web site, 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 one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States. Our store operations are conducted by our subsidiaries.
As of December 31, 2015, we owned and operated 99 new vehicle franchises, representing 28 brands of automobiles at 81 dealership locations, and 25 collision centers in the United States. In addition, we owned and operated three stand-alone used vehicle stores under the “Q auto” brand name in Florida. Our stores offer an extensive range of automotive products and services, including:
new vehicles;
used vehicles;
parts and service, including: vehicle repair and maintenance services, replacement parts, and collision repair services; and 
finance and insurance, including: arranging vehicle financing through third parties and aftermarket products such as extended service contracts, guaranteed asset protection (“GAP”) insurance, prepaid maintenance, and credit life and disability insurance.
Our operations provide a diverse revenue base that we believe mitigates the impact of fluctuations in new vehicle sales volumes and gross profit margins. In addition, our geographic footprint decreases our exposure to regional economic downturns and our brand diversification decreases our exposure to manufacturer-specific risks such as brand perception or production disruptions. While new vehicle sales generate approximately 55% of our revenue, used vehicles, parts and service, and finance and insurance provide higher profit margins and collectively account for approximately 81% of our gross profit, and have been historically more stable throughout economic cycles.
The following charts present the contribution to total revenue and gross profit by each line of business for the year ended December 31, 2015:

6


Our new vehicle franchise retail network is made up of dealerships located in 17 metropolitan markets in nine states operating primarily under eight locally-branded dealership groups. The following chart provides a detailed breakdown of our markets, brand names, and franchises as of December 31, 2015:
Brand Names
  
Markets
  
Franchises
 
 
 
 
 
Nalley Automotive Group
  
Atlanta, GA
  
Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti(a), Kia, Lexus(a), Nissan(a), Toyota(a), Volkswagen
 
 
 
 
 
Courtesy Autogroup
  
Tampa, FL
  
Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jeep, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, smart, Sprinter, Toyota
 
 
 
 
 
Coggin Automotive Group
  
Jacksonville, FL
  
Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda(a), Nissan(a), Toyota
 
  
Orlando, FL
  
Ford, Honda(a), Hyundai, Lincoln
 
  
Fort Pierce, FL
  
Acura, BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz
 
 
 
 
 
Crown Automotive Company
  
Greensboro, NC
  
Acura, BMW, Chrysler, Dodge, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Volvo
 
  
Durham, NC
  
Honda
 
  
Fayetteville, NC
  
Dodge, Ford
 
  
Richmond, VA
  
Acura, BMW(a), MINI
 
  
Charlottesville, VA
  
BMW
 
  
Greenville, SC
  
Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Nissan, Porsche, Toyota, Volvo
 
 
 
 
 
David McDavid Auto Group
  
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
  
Acura, Ford, Honda(a), Lincoln
 
  
Houston, TX
  
Nissan
 
  
Austin, TX
  
Acura
 
 
 
 
 
North Point Auto Group
  
Little Rock, AR
  
BMW, Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, Volvo
 
 
 
 
 
Gray-Daniels Auto Family
  
Jackson, MS
  
Chevrolet, Ford, Lincoln, Nissan(a), Toyota
 
 
 
 
 
Plaza Motor Company
  
St. Louis, MO
  
Audi, BMW, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz(a), smart, Sprinter(a)
_____________________________
(a)
This market has two of these franchises.

7


Operations
New Vehicle Sales
Our dealerships sell 28 different brands of vehicles manufactured by American, European, and Asian manufacturers. The following table reflects (i) the number of franchises owned as of December 31, 2015 and (ii) the percentage of new vehicle revenues represented by class and franchise for the year ended December 31, 2015:
Class/Franchise
 
Number of
Franchises Owned
 
% of New
Vehicle Revenues
Luxury
 
 
 
 
BMW
 
8

 
8
%
Mercedes-Benz
 
4

 
7

Lexus
 
4

 
7

Acura
 
6

 
5

Infiniti
 
4

 
3

Audi
 
2

 
2

Lincoln
 
4

 
1

Porsche
 
1

 
1

Volvo
 
3

 
1

Land Rover
 
2

 
1

Jaguar
 
2

 
*

Bentley
 
1

 
*

Total Luxury
 
41

 
36
%
Import
 
 
 
 
Honda
 
11

 
16
%
Nissan
 
10

 
12

Toyota
 
7

 
12

Kia
 
2

 
2

Hyundai
 
3

 
2

MINI
 
1

 
1

Volkswagen
 
1

 
1

smart
 
2

 
*

Sprinter
 
3

 
*

Total Import
 
40

 
46
%
Domestic
 
 
 
 
Ford
 
7

 
11
%
Chevrolet
 
2

 
3

Dodge
 
3

 
2

Jeep
 
2

 
1

GMC
 
1

 
1

Chrysler
 
2

 
*

Buick
 
1

 
*

Total Domestic
 
18

 
18
%
Total Franchises
 
99

 
100
%
* Franchise accounted for less than 1% of new vehicle revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015.
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.



8


Used Vehicle Sales
We sell used vehicles at all of our franchised dealership locations and our stand-alone Q auto stores. 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 the ability of our dealerships 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 25 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 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 have tended to have their vehicles serviced at the location where they purchase extended service contracts. In addition, our franchised dealerships benefit from manufacturer policies requiring that warranty and recall related repairs be performed at a franchised dealership. We believe that 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 that we are able to source original equipment manufacturer parts from our franchised dealerships.
Finance and Insurance
We offer a wide variety of automotive finance and insurance (“F&I”) products to our customers. We arrange third-party financing for the sale or lease of vehicles to our customers in exchange for a fee 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 fees that we receive. The fees we receive are subject to chargeback, or repayment, to the 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 fees upon reaching a certain volume of business.
We offer our customers a variety of vehicle protection products in connection with the purchase of vehicles. These products are underwritten and administered by independent 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 insurance contracts due to 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:
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 (i) oil changes, (ii) cleaning and adjusting of brakes, (iii) multi-point vehicle inspections, and (iv) tire rotations; and
Credit life and disability – covers the remaining amounts due on an auto loan or a lease in the event of death or disability.

9


Recent Developments
On January 27, 2016, our Board of Directors reset our share repurchase program to $300.0 million in the aggregate, for the repurchase of our common stock in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions. Any repurchases will be subject to applicable limitations in our debt or other financing agreements that may be in existence from time to time.
Business Strategy
We seek to create long-term value for our stockholders by striving to drive operational excellence and deploy capital to the highest returns. To achieve these objectives, we employ the strategies described below.
Drive Operational Excellence
Attract and retain the best talent
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. We believe our general managers’ familiarity with their respective markets enables them to effectively run day-to-day operations, market to customers, and recruit new employees. The general manager of each dealership is supported, in most cases, by a new vehicle sales manager, a used vehicle sales manager, an F&I manager, a parts manager, and a service manager. Our dealership management teams typically have many years of experience in the automotive retail industry. This management structure is complemented by support from our market-based management teams and the corporate office, which we refer to as the Dealership Support Center (“DSC”), through our advanced technology solutions, centralized processes, marketing support, and financial oversight.
Implement best practices and improve productivity
While new vehicle sales are critical to drawing customers to our dealerships, used vehicles, parts and service, and F&I sales generally provide higher profit margins and account for the majority of our gross profit. In order to maximize the growth of these higher margin businesses, we have discipline-specific executives at the DSC, market and dealership levels who focus on increasing the penetration of current services and expanding the breadth of our offerings to customers through the implementation of best practices and continuous training on our technology solutions throughout our dealership network. In addition, we have marketing initiatives designed to attract customers to our online channels and mobile applications.
In order to mitigate the impact of significant fluctuations in vehicle sales, we tie management and employee compensation at various operational levels to performance through incentive-based pay systems based on various metrics. We compensate our general managers, department managers, and sales and other dealership personnel with incentive-based pay, using metrics such as dealership profitability, departmental profitability and individual performance, as appropriate. In addition, a portion of management’s compensation is variable based in nature, including a component of equity compensation tied to our financial performance in comparison to our peer group.
Provide an exceptional customer experience
We are focused on providing a high level of customer service and 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. We continually evaluate opportunities, and implement appropriate new technologies, to improve the buying experience for our customers, and believe that our ability to share best practices across our multi-jurisdictional platform gives us an advantage over independent dealerships. For example, we have implemented a common customer relations management tool in all of our dealerships to facilitate communications with customers before, during, and after the sale. We continue to invest in technologies designed to improve our sales process and employee productivity, all with the goal of improving the customer experience. In addition, our higher margin parts and service operations are an integral part of our overall approach to customer service, providing an opportunity to foster ongoing relationships and improve customer loyalty. We continue to train our technicians and service advisors on processes and technologies to both educate our customers on their service needs and ensure that our customers continue to receive excellent service. We believe our parts and service business provides us with an opportunity for future growth due to improved customer retention, the added technical complexity of vehicles and the increasing number of vehicles on the road.

10


Centralize, streamline, and automate processes
Our DSC management is responsible for our capital expenditures and determining our operating strategy, while the implementation of our operating strategy rests with our market-based management teams and each dealership management team based on the policies and procedures established by DSC management. DSC management and our market-based management teams continually evaluate the financial and operating results of our dealerships, as well as each dealership’s geographical location, and from time to time, make decisions to evaluate new technologies and/or processes to further enhance our operational performance. As part of our investment in our IT systems, we have deployed a common dealer management system (“DMS”). We believe a single DMS provides the foundation for future efficiencies and creates a more efficient retail operation. We consolidate financial, accounting, and operational data received from our dealerships through customized financial products. Our IT approach enables us to efficiently integrate and aggregate information from our dealerships. Through the combination of a common DMS and our corporate IT products, management has access to the financial, accounting, and operational data at various levels of the organization. In addition, we are in the process of centralizing business processes throughout our organization which we expect will deliver future cost synergies and enhanced performance.
Leverage our scale and cost structure to improve our 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.
Deploy Capital to Highest Returns
We continually evaluate our investment opportunities based upon: (i) our cash and cash equivalents on hand, (ii) the funds that we expect to generate through future operations, (iii) current and expected borrowing availability under our credit facilities and mortgage financings, (iv) amounts in our new vehicle floor plan notes payable offset account, and (v) the potential impact of any contemplated or pending future transactions, including, but not limited to, financings, acquisitions, dispositions or other capital expenditures.
Seek opportunities to further invest in our business; acquire real estate currently being operated under lease agreements
We continually evaluate our existing dealership network and seek to make strategic investments which 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.
Evaluate opportunities to refine our dealership portfolio, including acquiring value added operating assets and dealerships
We evaluate dealership acquisition opportunities based on market position and geography, brand representation and availability, key personnel, and other factors. We believe our financial position, information technology systems, management structure, and experience positions us to efficiently and opportunistically complete, integrate, and benefit from dealership acquisitions. We also evaluate the financial and operating results of our owned 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 portfolio.
Maximize opportunities in the used vehicle market through investments in our “Q auto” stand-alone used vehicle stores
We believe the used vehicle market is changing rapidly and presents a significant opportunity for profitability through technology-driven, customer focused stand-alone used vehicle stores. We currently own and operate stand-alone used vehicle stores under the “Q auto” brand name in Florida. Our Q auto stores are designed to market used vehicles to a new generation of buyers seeking a different car buying experience. We are currently focusing our Q auto marketing efforts on a web based strategy designed to capitalize on transparency and a one-price sales process.
Return capital to stockholders through a share repurchase program and/or dividends
Our capital allocation decisions are primarily based on our desire to maintain sufficient liquidity and a prudent capital structure. We believe our cash position and borrowing capacity combined with our current and expected future cash generation capability provide us with significant financial flexibility to enhance shareholder value through the repurchase of our common stock and/or dividends. Our share repurchase decisions are based on many factors, including a comparison of the market price of our common stock versus our view of its intrinsic value.

11


Competition
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 manufactures, and as such, generally obtain new vehicle inventory from vehicle manufactures 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. 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 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 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 that the principal competitive factors in providing financing are convenience, interest rates, and flexibility in contract length.
Seasonality
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. We typically experience higher sales of luxury vehicles in the fourth quarter, which have higher average selling prices and gross profit per vehicle retailed. 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 operates 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;  
dealership management; 
personnel training; 
information systems;

12


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 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 that 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;
capitalization requirements;
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 (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 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

13


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 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.”
Regulations
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, advertising, and employment practices. These laws and regulations include state franchise laws and regulations, consumer protection laws, privacy 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.
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 finance fees and charges that may be paid as a result of vehicle sales. Claims arising out of actual or alleged violations of law may be asserted against us or by 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.
In July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law and established the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) with broad regulatory powers. Although automotive dealers are generally excluded from the CFPB’s regulatory authority, we are required to comply with regulations applicable to privacy notices, and the CFPB has announced its intention to regulate automotive financing activities through its regulation of automotive finance companies and other financial institutions that service the automotive industry. The CFPB has issued regulatory guidance instructing financial institutions to monitor dealer loans for potential discrimination resulting from the system used to compensate dealers for assisting in the customer financing transaction. The CFPB has instructed lenders that, if discrimination is found, the lender would be required to change dealer compensation practices. In addition, the CFPB has announced its intention to regulate the sale of other finance and insurance products. The Federal Trade Commission has certain regulatory authority over automotive dealers and has implemented an enforcement initiative relating to the advertising practices of automotive dealers. 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

14


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. 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 in complying with these laws and regulations and to obtain and maintain all necessary environmental permits. We believe that our operations currently are being conducted in substantial compliance with all applicable environmental laws. From time to time we may experience incidents and encounter conditions that are not in compliance with environmental laws and regulations. We occasionally receive notices from environmental agencies regarding potential violations of environmental laws or regulations. In such cases, we work with the agencies to address any issues and to implement appropriate corrective action when necessary. However, none of our dealerships has been subject to any material environmental liabilities in the past, nor do we know of any fact or condition that would result in any material environmental liabilities being incurred in the future.
Employees
As of December 31, 2015, we employed approximately 8,600 full-time and part-time employees, none of whom were covered by collective bargaining agreements. We believe we have good relations with our employees.
Insurance
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.
Our insurance programs include multiple umbrella policies with a total per occurrence and aggregate limit of $100 million. We are self-insured for certain employee medical claims and maintain stop loss insurance for individual claims. We have large deductible insurance programs in place for workers compensation, property, and general liability 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 that 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 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.
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; and interest rates. 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

15


factors may have a material adverse effect on our revenues and results of operations. Commencing in the second quarter of 2015, we began experiencing significant margin pressure primarily driven by a shift in consumer preference from cars to trucks, due in part to lower gas prices, and increased competition in the marketplace. Used vehicle valuations are sensitive to changes in general economic conditions which could have a negative effect on our profit margins. A decline in general economic conditions also could have a material adverse effect on the revenues and results of operations of our parts and service business and our F&I business, both of which have traditionally produced higher profit margins for our business relative to vehicle sales, as consumers often delay nonessential service and repairs on their vehicles and refrain from making vehicle purchases during periods of challenging economic conditions.
Changes in or continued uncertain 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, parts and related 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, and we own dealerships that 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, 2015, manufacturers representing 5% or more of our revenues from new vehicle sales were as follows:
Manufacturer (Vehicle Brands):
 
% of Total
New Vehicle
Revenues
American Honda Motor Co., Inc. (Honda and Acura)
 
21
%
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (Toyota and Lexus)
 
19
%
Nissan North America, Inc. (Nissan and Infiniti)
 
15
%
Ford Motor Company (Ford and Lincoln)
 
13
%
BMW of North America, LLC (BMW and Mini)
 
8
%
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Sprinter)
 
8
%
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; and (vii) issues with respect to labor relations. Our business is highly dependent on consumer demand and brand preferences of our manufacturers products. Manufacturer recall campaigns are a common occurrence that have recently accelerated in frequency and scope over the last several years. Manufacturer recall campaigns could adversely affect our new and used vehicle sales or customer residual trade-in valuations, could cause us to temporarily remove vehicles from our inventory, could force us to incur increased costs, and could 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. Foreign manufacturers are subject to additional risks including changes in duties, fluctuations in foreign current exchange rates, regulations governing imports and the costs related thereto, and foreign governmental regulations.

16


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.
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, 2015, we had total debt of $959.7 million, which excludes total floor plan notes payable of $712.2 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.
Our debt service obligations could have important consequences to us for the foreseeable future, including the following: (i) our ability to obtain additional financing 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 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 senior credit facility, the indenture governing our senior notes 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 or 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

17


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 impact 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 and 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 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 debt and floor plan notes payable outstanding as of December 31, 2015, each one percent increase in market interest rates would increase our total annual interest expense by as much as $7.1 million. When considered in connection with reduced expected sales as and 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. Any reduced availability of credit to consumers contributed to the decline 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. Recently, the automotive retail markets have experienced an increase in the availability of credit from subprime lenders. However, 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.
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) Internet-based 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 and used 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 on-line channels 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

18


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.
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, which could adversely affect our future growth. We cannot assure you 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

19


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.
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 our business, financial condition, and results of operations.
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. 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, 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 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, financial condition, and results of operations.
A failure of any of our management information systems 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, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flow.
We depend on the efficient operation of our information systems. We rely on management 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 DMS. Our business could be significantly disrupted if (i) the DMS fails to integrate with other third-party management information systems, customer relations management tools or other software, or to the extent any of these systems become unavailable to us for an extended period of time, or (ii) our relationship with our DMS provider or any other third-party provider deteriorates.
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. Numerous state and federal regulations, as well as payment card industry and other vendor standards, govern 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 cyber-attacks are increasing in number and sophistication 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, and/or acts of vandalism, or other events. Alleged or actual data security breaches can increase costs of doing business, negatively affect

20


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, or results of operations.
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.
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 Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, established the CFPB, a new independent federal agency funded by the United States Federal Reserve with broad regulatory powers and limited oversight from the United States Congress. Although automotive dealers are generally excluded, the Dodd-Frank Act could lead to 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 Dodd-Frank Act also provided the FTC with new and expanded authority regarding automotive dealers, and the FTC has implemented an enforcement initiative relating to the advertising practices of automotive dealers.
In March 2013, the CFPB issued supervisory guidance highlighting its concern that the practice of automotive dealers being compensated for arranging customer financing through discretionary markup of wholesale rates offered by financial institutions (“dealer markup”) results in a significant risk of pricing disparity in violation of The Equal Credit Opportunity Act (“ECOA”). The CFPB recommended that financial institutions under its jurisdiction take steps to ensure compliance with the ECOA, which may include imposing controls on dealer markup, monitoring and addressing the effects of dealer markup policies, and eliminating dealer discretion to markup buy rates and fairly compensating dealers using a different mechanism. In response, certain financial institutions are conducting monitoring programs relating to dealer markups and may take further steps. Since issuing its supervisory guidance, the CFPB has announced the resolution of three separate enforcement actions against automotive lenders involving allegations that certain presumed-minority borrowers who had obtained automobile financing were charged higher dealer markups as a result of such lender’s policy and practice of allowing dealer markup. In each case, the respective automotive lender paid restitution to the affected borrowers and either paid financial penalties or agreed to reduce dealer discretion. Additional investigations and actions by the CFPB and the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) against automotive lenders are likely to occur in the future. Continued pressure from the CFPB, DOJ, and other federal agencies could lead to significant changes in the manner that dealers are compensated for arranging customer financing, 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. The labor policy of the current administration could lead to increased unionization efforts, which could lead to higher labor costs, disrupt our store operations, and reduce our profitability.
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, and otherwise protective of health, safety and the environment. Similar to many of our competitors, we have incurred and expect to continue to incur capital and operating expenditures and other costs in complying with such federal and state statutes. In addition, we may become subject to broad liabilities arising out of contamination at our currently and formerly

21


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. For some such potential liabilities, we believe we are entitled to indemnification from other entities. However, we cannot assure you that such entities will view their obligations as we do or will be able or willing to satisfy them. 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. Specifically, vehicle manufacturers are subject to corporate average fuel economy standards (“CAFE”) for passenger cars and light trucks. Failure of a manufacturer to develop passenger vehicles and light trucks that meet CAFE and/or greenhouse gas emission 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, financial condition, results of operations, 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 heath care trends. These estimates are then adjusted each year to reflect actual costs incurred. Actual costs under these plans are subject to variability that is dependent upon participant enrollment, demographics, and the actual costs of claims made. In the event our cost estimates differ from actual costs, we could 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.
Additionally, rising health care costs and interest in universal health care coverage in the United States have resulted in significant health care reforms in recent years. Such reforms may further increase our annual employee health care costs in the near term. We cannot predict the extent of the effect that any future state or federal health care legislation or regulation will have on us. However, any further expansion in government’s role in the U.S. health care industry could result in significant additional long-term costs to us, which could in turn adversely affect our future profitability, financial condition, 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, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.
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, financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows. 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.
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 adverse weather conditions or other extraordinary events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and hail storms. 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 which we must pay prior to obtaining insurance coverage. 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

22


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, or cash flows could be materially adversely impacted.
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 of doing business with international manufacturers including import product restrictions, foreign trade risks, and currency valuations.
A portion of 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 adjust presently prevailing quotas, duties, or tariffs, which may affect our operations and our ability to purchase imported vehicles and/or parts at reasonable prices. 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 profitability.
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 and efficiently 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

23


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, 2015, unexpected changes to 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.
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 impact 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. Negative or declining cash flows or a decline in actual or planned revenues for our stores increases the risk of manufacturer franchise rights impairment. An impairment loss could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and stockholders’ equity.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
Item 2. Properties
We lease our corporate headquarters, which are located at 2905 Premiere Parkway, NW, Suite 300, Duluth, Georgia. As of December 31, 2015, our operations encompassed 81 franchise dealership locations throughout nine states, three stand-alone used vehicle stores under the “Q auto” brand name in Florida, and 25 collision repair centers as follows:
 
 
Dealerships
 
 
Collision Repair Centers
Dealership Group:
 
Owned
 
Leased
 
 
Owned
 
Leased
Coggin Automotive Group
 
12

 
4

(a)
 
5

 
2

Courtesy Autogroup
 
5

 
3

  
 
1

 
1

Crown Automotive Company
 
12

 
6

(b)
 
2

 
1

David McDavid Auto Group
 
7

 

 
 
4

 
1

Gray-Daniels Auto Family
 

 
5

(b)
 

 
1

Nalley Automotive Group
 
11

 
6

  
 
2

 
2

Northpoint Auto Group
 
2

 
1

  
 
1

 
1

Plaza Motor Company
 
5

 
2

(b)
 

 
1

Q auto
 
2

 
1

 
 

 

     Total
 
56

 
28

  
 
15

 
10

________________________________________
(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.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings

From time to time, we and our dealerships may become 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.

24



Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

PART II

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.” Quarterly information concerning our high and low closing sales price per share of our common stock as reported by the NYSE is as follows:
 
High
 
Low
Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2014
 
 
 
First Quarter
$
55.42

 
$
45.42

Second Quarter
68.74

 
53.15

Third Quarter
71.99

 
64.42

Fourth Quarter
$
77.56

 
$
61.46

Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2015
 
 
 
First Quarter
$
83.10

 
$
70.12

Second Quarter
92.73

 
82.26

Third Quarter
95.54

 
76.54

Fourth Quarter
$
87.27

 
$
66.76

We did not pay any dividends during any of these periods. On February 18, 2016, the last reported sale price of our common stock on the NYSE was $51.87 per share, and there were approximately 126 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 “Restated Credit Agreement”) and the Indenture governing our 6.0% Notes (the "Indenture") 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.”
On January 30, 2014, our Board of Directors authorized our current share repurchase program (the “Repurchase Program”). The Repurchase Program was amended as of January 28, 2015, resulting in the Board of Directors authorizing us to repurchase up to an aggregate of $300.0 million of our common stock, subsequent to the amendment date, in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions from time to time. 
During the year ended December 31, 2015, we repurchased 3,793,186 shares of our common stock under the Repurchase Program for a total of $304.2 million. As of December 31, 2015 we had the authorization from our Board of Directors to repurchase up to an additional $49.8 million of our common stock. On January 27, 2016, our Board of Directors reset our share repurchase program to $300.0 million in the aggregate, for the repurchase of our common stock in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions. Any repurchases will be subject to applicable limitations in our debt or other financing agreements that may be in existence from time to time.

25


The following table sets forth information about our share repurchases during each month in the quarter ended December 31, 2015.
Period
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased
 
Average Price Paid per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Approximate Dollar Value of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs (in millions) (1)
10/01/2015 - 10/31/2015
 
289,000

 
$
82.45

 
289,000

 
$
70.3

11/01/2015 - 11/30/2015
 
282,100

 
$
72.55

 
282,100

 
$
49.8

12/01/2015 - 12/31/2015
 

 
$

 

 
$
49.8

________________________________________
(1) Amount increased on January 27, 2016 as previously described.
PERFORMANCE GRAPH
The following graph furnished by us shows the value as of December 31, 2015, of a $100 investment in our common stock made on December 31, 2010, 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.

26


Item 6. Selected Financial Data

The following table sets forth selected consolidated financial data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011. Certain reclassifications of amounts previously reported have been made to the accompanying income statement data and balance sheet data in order to conform to current presentation. The following information should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our Consolidated Financial Statements and the Notes thereto, included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 10-K.
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
Income Statement Data:
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
(in millions, except per share data)
REVENUE:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New vehicle
 
$
3,652.5

 
$
3,230.6

 
$
2,952.2

 
$
2,608.3

 
$
2,240.2

Used vehicle
 
1,931.7

 
1,741.5

 
1,564.2

 
1,301.6

 
1,208.6

Parts and service
 
740.7

 
666.6

 
611.6

 
565.3

 
555.6

Finance and insurance, net
 
263.4

 
229.0

 
206.9

 
166.6

 
137.0

TOTAL REVENUE
 
6,588.3

 
5,867.7

 
5,334.9

 
4,641.8

 
4,141.4

COST OF SALES
 
5,527.5

 
4,900.5

 
4,458.9

 
3,878.0

 
3,442.3

GROSS PROFIT
 
1,060.8

 
967.2

 
876.0

 
763.8

 
699.1

OPERATING EXPENSES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selling, general and administrative expenses
 
729.9

 
671.6

 
617.8

 
554.8

 
530.3

Depreciation and amortization
 
29.5

 
26.4

 
24.3

 
22.6

 
22.5

Other operating (income) expense, net
 
(0.2
)
 
1.0

 
7.8

 
0.4

 
15.1

INCOME FROM OPERATIONS
 
301.6

 
268.2

 
226.1

 
186.0

 
131.2

OTHER (INCOME) EXPENSE:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Floor plan interest expense
 
16.1

 
12.4

 
12.5

 
11.6

 
9.3

Other interest expense, net
 
44.0

 
38.9

 
39.0

 
35.6

 
39.6

Swap interest expense
 
3.0

 
2.0

 
2.5

 
5.0

 
5.5

Convertible debt discount amortization
 

 

 

 
0.4

 
0.8

Loss on extinguishment of long-term debt, net
 

 
31.9

 
6.8

 

 
0.8

Gain on divestitures
 
(34.9
)
 

 

 
0.1

 

Total other (income) expenses, net
 
28.2

 
85.2

 
60.8

 
52.7

 
56.0

INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS BEORE INCOME TAX
 
273.4

 
183.0

 
165.3

 
133.3

 
75.2

Income tax expense
 
104.0

 
71.0

 
64.2

 
50.0

 
28.7

INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS
 
169.4

 
112.0

 
101.1

 
83.3

 
46.5

Discontinued operations, net of tax
 
(0.2
)
 
(0.4
)
 
8.0

 
(1.1
)
 
21.4

NET INCOME
 
$
169.2

 
$
111.6

 
$
109.1

 
$
82.2

 
$
67.9

Income from continuing operations per common share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
 
$
6.43

 
$
3.73

 
$
3.55

 
$
2.64

 
$
2.14

Diluted
 
$
6.41

 
$
3.71

 
$
3.51

 
$
2.61

 
$
2.08

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


27


 
 
As of December 31,
Balance Sheet Data:
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
 
(in millions)
Working capital
 
$
335.2

 
$
235.6

 
$
274.5

 
$
206.6

 
$
156.2

Inventories (a)
 
917.2

 
886.0

 
767.7

 
655.1

 
519.5

Total assets
 
2,305.9

 
2,182.0

 
1,879.4

 
1,652.3

 
1,409.7

Floor plan notes payable (b)
 
712.2

 
766.8

 
609.5

 
562.1

 
434.1

Total debt
 
954.3

 
697.4

 
545.1

 
457.0

 
448.9

Total shareholders’ equity
 
$
314.5

 
$
444.9

 
$
490.6

 
$
402.8

 
$
326.6

______________________________
(a)
Includes amounts classified as assets held for sale on our consolidated balance sheets.
(b)
Includes amounts classified as liabilities associated with assets held for sale on our consolidated balance sheets.

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

OVERVIEW
We are one of the largest automotive retailers in the United States. As of December 31, 2015 we owned and operated 99 new vehicle franchises (81 dealership locations), representing 28 brands of automobiles and 25 collision centers in 17 metropolitan markets within nine states. Our stores offer an extensive range of automotive products and services, including new and used vehicles, repair and maintenance services, collision repair services, and finance and insurance products. As of December 31, 2015, our new vehicle revenue brand mix consisted of 46% imports, 36% luxury, and 18% domestic brands. In addition, as of December 31, 2015 we owned and operated three stand-alone used vehicle stores under the “Q auto” brand name in Florida.
Our 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 (together 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 (collectively referred to as “F&I”). 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 F&I based on dealership generated F&I gross profit per vehicle sold.
We assess the organic growth of our revenue and gross profit on a same store basis. 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.
Our 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. We believe that the impact on our business of any future negative trends in new vehicle sales would be partially mitigated by (i) the expected relative stability of our parts and service operations over the long-term, (ii) the variable nature of significant components of our cost structure, and (iii) our brand mix. We believe that our diversified new vehicle revenue brand mix is well positioned for growth over the long-term.
In September 2015, Volkswagen issued a stop-sale order on new vehicles equipped with certain diesel engines that do not meet certain state and federal clean air standards and has also withdrawn its application to U.S. regulators to certify certain 2016 diesel engine vehicles. Volkswagen has committed to taking actions to stabilize profitability of dealerships in the United States. As of December 31, 2015, we owned one Volkswagen dealership, with new vehicle revenues accounting for approximately 1% of our total new vehicle revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015.
Our operating results are generally 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. We typically experience higher sales of luxury vehicles in the fourth quarter, which have higher average selling prices and gross profit per vehicle retailed. Revenues and operating results may be impacted significantly from quarter to quarter by changing economic conditions, vehicle manufacturer incentive programs, or adverse weather events.

28


Our gross profit margin varies with our revenue mix. The sale of new vehicles generally results in 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.
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 better 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.
The United States automotive retail market showed continued year-over-year improvement in 2015, with new vehicle sales increasing to 17.4 million as compared to 16.5 million in 2014. We continued to benefit from favorable general and industry specific economic conditions during 2015, which we attribute to consumer confidence, the continued availability of credit to consumers, relatively low overall unemployment levels and fuel prices, and the aging of the U.S. automotive fleet.
We had total available liquidity of $393.4 million as of December 31, 2015, which consisted of cash and cash equivalents of $2.8 million, $137.4 million of funds in our floor plan offset account, and borrowing availability of $165.6 million and $87.6 million under our revolving credit facility and our used vehicle revolving floor plan facility, respectively. For further discussion of our liquidity, please refer to “Liquidity and Capital Resources” below.
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 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 an understanding of our results of operations, based on the high degree of judgment or complexity in their application.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue from the sale of new and used vehicles (which excludes sales tax) is recognized upon the latest of delivery, passage of title, signing of the sales contract or approval of financing. Manufacturer incentives and rebates, including manufacturer holdbacks, floor plan interest assistance and certain advertising assistance, are recognized as a reduction of new vehicle cost of sales at the time the related vehicles are sold.
Revenue from the sale of parts, service, and collision repair work (which excludes sales tax) is recognized upon delivery of parts to the customer or at the time vehicle service or repair work is completed, as applicable.
We receive commissions from third-party lending and insurance institutions for arranging customer financing and from the sale of vehicle service contracts, guaranteed auto protection (known as “GAP”) insurance, and other insurance, to customers (collectively “F&I”). We may be charged back for F&I commissions in the event a contract is prepaid, defaulted upon, or terminated (“chargebacks”). F&I commissions are recorded at the time a vehicle is sold. F&I commissions, net of estimated future chargebacks, are included in Finance and Insurance, net in the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income.
Used Vehicle Inventory Lower of Cost or Market Reserves—
Our used vehicle inventory is stated at the lower of cost or market. We use the specific identification method to value our used vehicle inventories. We maintain a reserve for specific inventory units where cost basis exceeds fair value. In assessing lower of cost or market for used vehicles, we consider (i) the aging of our used vehicles, (ii) historical sales experience of used vehicles and (iii) current market conditions and trends for used vehicles. We also review and consider the following metrics related to used vehicle sales (both on a recent and longer-term historical basis): (i) days of supply in our used vehicle inventory, (ii) used vehicle units sold at less than original cost as a percentage of total used vehicles sold and (iii) average vehicle selling price of used vehicle units sold at less than original cost. We then determine the appropriate level of reserve required to reduce our used vehicle inventory to the lower of cost or market, and record the resulting adjustment in the period in which we determine a loss has occurred. The level of reserve determined to be appropriate for each reporting period is considered to be a permanent inventory write-down and therefore is only released upon the sale of the related inventory.

29


Our used vehicle sales histories have indicated that our losses range between 3% and 4% of our original used vehicle inventory cost. Accordingly, we have recorded used vehicle reserves as follows:
Used vehicle lower of cost or market reserve:
 
Reserve Amount (in millions)
 
Percentage of Used Vehicle Inventory
As of December 31, 2015
 
$
5.4

 
3.8
%
As of December 31, 2014
 
$
5.8

 
3.9
%
As of December 31, 2015, each 100 basis point change in our estimate would change our used vehicle reserve by approximately $1.4 million.
F&I Chargeback Reserve—
We reserve for chargebacks on finance, insurance, or vehicle service contract commissions received. The reserve is established based on historical operating results and the termination provisions of the applicable contracts. This data is evaluated on a product-by-product basis. Our loss histories vary depending on the product, but generally total between 9% and 15% of F&I revenues. Our F&I chargebacks from continuing operations for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013 were $38.2 million, $31.0 million, and $29.6 million, respectively. Our chargeback reserves were $38.1 million and $31.3 million as of December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively. Total chargebacks as a percentage of F&I revenue for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, were 13%, 12%, and 13%, respectively. A 100 basis point change in our estimate for all our products would have changed finance and insurance, net on our accompanying Consolidated Statement of Income for the year ended December 31, 2015 by approximately $3.0 million.
Insurance Reserves—
We are self-insured for employee medical claims and maintain stop loss insurance for large-dollar individual claims. We have large deductible insurance programs for workers compensation, property and general liability claims. We maintain and review our claim and loss history to assist in assessing our expected future liability for these claims. We also use professional service providers, such as account administrators and actuaries, to help us accumulate and assess this information. 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.
As of December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2014, we had $13.3 million and $14.4 million, respectively, of insurance reserves for both known and unknown employee medical, workers compensation, property, and general liability claims. Expenses associated with employee medical, workers compensation, property, and general liability claims, including premiums for insurance coverage, for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013, totaled $26.9 million, $27.1 million, and $25.2 million, respectively.
Goodwill and Manufacturer Franchise Rights—
Goodwill represents the excess cost of the businesses acquired over the fair market value of the identifiable net assets. We have determined that, 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 that 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 dealerships offer new and used vehicles, service, parts and third-party finance and 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 significant identifiable intangible assets, other than goodwill, are rights under franchise agreements with manufacturers, which are recorded at an individual franchise level. The fair value of our manufacturer franchise rights is determined at the acquisition date through 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.

30


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 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.
We completed our annual intangible impairment tests as of October 1, 2015, and no impairment of goodwill or other intangible assets was recognized as a result of such tests.


31


RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
The Year Ended December 31, 2015 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2014
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase
(Decrease)
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
(Dollars in millions, except per share data)
REVENUE:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New vehicle
$
3,652.5

 
$
3,230.6

 
$
421.9

 
13
 %
Used vehicle
1,931.7

 
1,741.5

 
190.2

 
11
 %
Parts and service
740.7

 
666.6

 
74.1

 
11
 %
Finance and insurance, net
263.4

 
229.0

 
34.4

 
15
 %
TOTAL REVENUE
6,588.3

 
5,867.7

 
720.6

 
12
 %
GROSS PROFIT:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
New vehicle
203.0

 
198.3

 
4.7

 
2
 %
Used vehicle
131.8

 
127.7

 
4.1

 
3
 %
Parts and service
462.6

 
412.2

 
50.4

 
12
 %
Finance and insurance, net
263.4

 
229.0

 
34.4

 
15
 %
TOTAL GROSS PROFIT
1,060.8

 
967.2

 
93.6

 
10
 %
OPERATING EXPENSES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selling, general, and administrative
729.9

 
671.6

 
58.3

 
9
 %
Depreciation and amortization
29.5

 
26.4

 
3.1

 
12
 %
Other operating (income) expense, net
(0.2
)
 
1.0

 
(1.2
)
 
(120
)%
INCOME FROM OPERATIONS
301.6

 
268.2

 
33.4

 
12
 %
OTHER (INCOME) EXPENSES:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Floor plan interest expense
16.1

 
12.4

 
3.7

 
30
 %
Other interest expense, net
44.0

 
38.9

 
5.1

 
13
 %
Swap interest expense
3.0

 
2.0

 
1.0

 
50
 %
Loss on extinguishment of long-term debt, net

 
31.9

 
(31.9
)
 
NM

Gain on divestitures
(34.9
)
 

 
(34.9
)
 
NM

Total other expenses, net
28.2

 
85.2

 
(57.0
)
 
(67
)%
INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS BEFORE INCOME TAXES
273.4

 
183.0

 
90.4

 
49
 %
Income tax expense
104.0

 
71.0

 
33.0

 
46
 %
INCOME FROM CONTINUING OPERATIONS
169.4

 
112.0

 
57.4

 
51
 %
Discontinued operations, net of tax
(0.2
)
 
(0.4
)
 
0.2

 
(50
)%
NET INCOME
$
169.2

 
$
111.6

 
$
57.6

 
52
 %
Income from continuing operations per common share—Diluted
$
6.42

 
$
3.72

 
$
2.70

 
73
 %
Net income per common share—Diluted
$
6.41

 
$
3.71

 
$
2.70

 
73
 %
______________________________
NMNot Meaningful

32


 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
REVENUE MIX PERCENTAGES:
 
 
 
New vehicles
55.4
 %
 
55.1
 %
Used retail vehicles
26.1
 %
 
26.1
 %
Used vehicle wholesale
3.3
 %
 
3.5
 %
Parts and service
11.2
 %
 
11.4
 %
Finance and insurance, net
4.0
 %
 
3.9
 %
Total revenue
100.0
 %
 
100.0
 %
GROSS PROFIT MIX PERCENTAGES:
 
 
 
New vehicles
19.1
 %
 
20.5
 %
Used retail vehicles
12.9
 %
 
13.4
 %
Used vehicle wholesale
(0.4
)%
 
(0.2
)%
Parts and service
43.6
 %
 
42.6
 %
Finance and insurance, net
24.8
 %
 
23.7
 %
Total gross profit
100.0
 %
 
100.0
 %
GROSS PROFIT MARGIN
16.1
 %
 
16.5
 %
SG&A EXPENSES AS A PERCENTAGE OF GROSS PROFIT
68.8
 %
 
69.4
 %
Total revenue during 2015 increased by $720.6 million (12%) compared to 2014 as a result of (i) a $421.9 million (13%increase in new vehicle revenue, (ii) a $190.2 million (11%increase in used vehicle revenue, (iii) a $74.1 million (11%) increase in parts and service revenue, and (iv) a $34.4 million (15%) increase in F&I revenue. The $93.6 million (10%) increase in gross profit during 2015 was driven by (i) a $50.4 million (12%) increase in parts and service gross profit, (ii) a $34.4 million (15%) increase in F&I gross profit, (iii) a $4.7 million (2%) increase in new vehicle gross profit, and (iv) a $4.1 million (3%) increase in used vehicle gross profit.
Our total gross profit margin decreased 40 basis points to 16.1%, primarily due to competitive pressures negatively impacting our gross margins across our new vehicle and used vehicle businesses, partially offset by an increase in gross margin for our parts and service business and growth in our F&I business. SG&A expenses increased by $58.3 million (9%), however SG&A expenses as a percentage of gross profit decreased by 60 basis points from 69.4% in 2014 to 68.8% in 2015.
Net income increased by $57.6 million (52%) during 2015 compared to 2014. The increase in net income was driven by the $33.4 million (12%) increase in income from operations and a $57.0 million (67%) decrease in other expenses, primarily due to a $34.9 million gain from divestitures in 2015 and a $31.9 million loss on extinguishment of long-term debt in 2014. Income tax expense increased by $33.0 million (46%) primarily as a result of the $90.4 million (49%) increase in income from continuing operations before income taxes.
We assess the organic growth of our revenue and gross profit on a same store basis. 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.



33


New Vehicle—
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase
(Decrease)
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
(Dollars in millions, except for per vehicle data)
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
$
1,302.6

 
$
1,241.2

 
$
61.4

 
5
 %
Import
1,667.5

 
1,539.3

 
128.2

 
8
 %
Domestic
682.4

 
450.1

 
232.3

 
52
 %
Total new vehicle revenue
$
3,652.5

 
$
3,230.6

 
$
421.9

 
13
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
$
87.2

 
$
90.7

 
$
(3.5
)
 
(4
)%
Import
77.3

 
79.3

 
(2.0
)
 
(3
)%
Domestic
38.5

 
28.3

 
10.2

 
36
 %
Total new vehicle gross profit
$
203.0

 
$
198.3

 
$
4.7

 
2
 %
New vehicle units:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
25,441

 
24,275

 
1,166

 
5
 %
Import
61,633

 
57,980

 
3,653

 
6
 %
Domestic
18,907

 
13,309

 
5,598

 
42
 %
Total new vehicle units
105,981

 
95,564

 
10,417

 
11
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
$
1,281.9

 
$
1,195.7

 
$
86.2

 
7
 %
Import
1,556.9

 
1,451.5

 
105.4

 
7
 %
Domestic
508.1

 
450.1

 
58.0

 
13
 %
Total new vehicle revenue
$
3,346.9

 
$
3,097.3

 
$
249.6

 
8
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
$
86.1

 
$
87.4

 
$
(1.3
)
 
(1
)%
Import
72.3

 
74.9

 
(2.6
)
 
(3
)%
Domestic
28.9

 
28.3

 
0.6

 
2
 %
Total new vehicle gross profit
$
187.3

 
$
190.6

 
$
(3.3
)
 
(2
)%
New vehicle units:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Luxury
25,063

 
23,418

 
1,645

 
7
 %
Import
57,562

 
54,636

 
2,926

 
5
 %
Domestic
14,162

 
13,309

 
853

 
6
 %
Total new vehicle units
96,787

 
91,363

 
5,424

 
6
 %


34


New Vehicle Metrics—
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase (Decrease)
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue per new vehicle sold
$
34,464

 
$
33,806

 
$
658

 
2
 %
Gross profit per new vehicle sold
$
1,915

 
$
2,075

 
$
(160
)
 
(8
)%
New vehicle gross margin
5.6
%
 
6.1
%
 
(0.5
)%
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue per new vehicle sold
$
34,580

 
$
33,901

 
$
679

 
2
 %
Gross profit per new vehicle sold
$
1,935

 
$
2,086

 
$
(151
)
 
(7
)%
New vehicle gross margin
5.6
%
 
6.2
%
 
(0.6
)%
 


New vehicle revenue increased by $421.9 million (13%) as a result of the 11% increase in new vehicle units and a $658 (2%) increase in revenue per new vehicle sold. Same store new vehicle revenue increased by $249.6 million (8%) due to a 6% increase in new vehicle units sold and a $679 (2%) increase in revenue per new vehicle sold.
Same store unit volumes for our luxury, import, and domestic brands increased 7%, 5%, and 6%, respectively, reflecting (i) consumer demand for the broad range of attractive vehicles we offer and (ii) the continued availability of credit at terms favorable to our customers. Overall, same store new vehicle unit volumes increased by 6% in 2015 compared to new vehicle sales in the U.S. which increased by 5% over the same period.
Total new vehicle gross profit increased by $4.7 million (2%) in 2015. Same store new vehicle gross profit decreased by $3.3 million (2%) resulting in a 60 basis point decrease in gross margin to 5.6% in 2015 due to decreases in our luxury and import brand categories by $1.3 million (1%) and $2.6 million (3%), respectively, partially offset by a $0.6 million (2%) increase in our domestic brand category. Our same store gross profit per new vehicle sold decreased by $151 (7%). The decrease in new vehicle gross profit and gross margin is primarily driven by a shift in consumer preference from cars to trucks, due in part to lower gas prices, and increased competition in the marketplace.
 











35


Used Vehicle— 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase (Decrease)
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
(Dollars in millions, except for per vehicle data)
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail revenues
$
1,717.5

 
$
1,534.9

 
$
182.6

 
12
 %
Used vehicle wholesale revenues
214.2

 
206.6

 
7.6

 
4
 %
Used vehicle revenue
$
1,931.7

 
$
1,741.5

 
$
190.2

 
11
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail gross profit
$
136.1

 
$
130.0

 
$
6.1

 
5
 %
Used vehicle wholesale gross profit
(4.3
)
 
(2.3
)
 
(2.0
)
 
(87
)%
Used vehicle gross profit
$
131.8

 
$
127.7

 
$
4.1

 
3
 %
Used vehicle retail units:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail units
82,589

 
75,173

 
7,416

 
10
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail revenues
$
1,564.9

 
$
1,470.2

 
$
94.7

 
6
 %
Used vehicle wholesale revenues
194.7

 
194.9

 
(0.2
)
 
 %
Used vehicle revenue
$
1,759.6

 
$
1,665.1

 
$
94.5

 
6
 %
Gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail gross profit
$
125.2

 
$
124.9

 
$
0.3

 
 %
Used vehicle wholesale gross profit
(3.4
)
 
(2.1
)
 
(1.3
)
 
62
 %
Used vehicle gross profit
$
121.8

 
$
122.8

 
$
(1.0
)
 
(1
)%
Used vehicle retail units:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Used vehicle retail units
74,715

 
71,833

 
2,882

 
4
 %

Used Vehicle Metrics—
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase (Decrease)
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue per used vehicle retailed
$
20,796

 
$
20,418

 
$
378

 
2
 %
Gross profit per used vehicle retailed
$
1,648

 
$
1,729

 
$
(81
)
 
(5
)%
Used vehicle retail gross margin
7.9
%
 
8.5
%
 
(0.6
)%
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revenue per used vehicle retailed
$
20,945

 
$
20,467

 
$
478

 
2
 %
Gross profit per used vehicle retailed
$
1,676

 
$
1,739

 
$
(63
)
 
(4
)%
Used vehicle retail gross margin
8.0
%
 
8.5
%
 
(0.5
)%
 


Used vehicle revenue increased by $190.2 million (11%) primarily as a result of the 10% increase in used vehicle retail units. Same store used vehicle revenue increased by $94.5 million (6%) due to a $94.7 million (6%) increase in used vehicle retail revenue. Additionally, same store used retail unit sales increased by 4%, and same store revenue per used vehicle sold increased by $478 (2%) to $20,945 per unit. The increase in same store used vehicle retail unit sales reflects consumer demand, the continued availability of credit at terms favorable to the customer, and the ongoing impact of our volume-driven initiatives.
In 2015, used vehicle retail gross profit and same store used vehicle retail gross profit increased by $6.1 million (5%) and $0.3 million, respectively. We attribute the 50 basis point decrease in same store gross profit margin from 8.5% to 8.0% primarily to our efforts to grow sales volumes during the current year, increased competition in the used vehicle marketplace,

36


and pressure caused by the decrease in new vehicle gross profit per vehicle retailed. Wholesale losses for 2015 increased by $2.0 million to $4.3 million.

We believe that our used vehicle inventory continues to be well-aligned with current consumer demand, with approximately 30 days of supply in our inventory as of December 31, 2015.
Parts and Service—
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
(Dollars in millions)
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parts and service revenue
$
740.7

 
$
666.6

 
$
74.1

 
11
%
Parts and service gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Customer pay
$
250.9

 
$
232.2

 
$
18.7

 
8
%
Reconditioning and preparation
119.5

 
101.9

 
17.6

 
17
%
Warranty
71.0

 
57.5

 
13.5

 
23
%
Wholesale parts
21.2

 
20.6

 
0.6

 
3
%
Total parts and service gross profit
$
462.6

 
$
412.2

 
$
50.4

 
12
%
Parts and service gross margin
62.5
%
 
61.8
%
 
0.7
%
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parts and service revenue
$
693.8

 
$
638.8

 
$
55.0

 
9
%
Parts and service gross profit:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Customer pay
$
237.3

 
$
225.5

 
$
11.8

 
5
%
Reconditioning and preparation
110.4

 
97.7

 
12.7

 
13
%
Warranty
64.9

 
52.9

 
12.0

 
23
%
Wholesale parts
19.8

 
19.4

 
0.4

 
2
%
Total parts and service gross profit
$
432.4

 
$
395.5

 
$
36.9

 
9
%
Parts and service gross margin
62.3
%
 
61.9
%
 
0.4
%
 


The $74.1 million (11%) increase in parts and service revenue was the result of (i) a $44.7 million (10%) increase in customer pay revenue, (ii) a $25.9 million (24%) increase in warranty revenue, and (iii) a $3.5 million (3%) increase in wholesale parts revenue. Same store parts and service revenue increased by $55.0 million (9% ) from $638.8 million in 2014 to $693.8 million in 2015. The increase in same store parts and service revenue was due to (i) a $30.3 million (7%) increase in customer pay revenue, (ii) a $22.7 million (23%) increase in warranty revenue, and (iii) a $2.0 million (2%) increase in wholesale parts revenue.
Parts and service gross profit increased by $50.4 million (12%) to $462.6 million due to increases in all of the parts and service revenue lines. Same store gross profit increased by $36.9 million (9%) primarily due to increases in customer pay, reconditioning and preparation, and warranty revenue lines. The $12.7 million (13%) increase in reconditioning and preparation gross profit was primarily driven by a 4% increase in our same store used vehicle retail unit sales, as well as increases in the amount of work being performed per vehicle. Gross profit associated with warranty work increased by $12.0 million (23%), primarily due to manufacturer recall campaigns that occurred during 2015, as well as an increased number of vehicles under warranty in the United States as exhibited by the increasing levels of new vehicle purchases over the previous few years. The 40 basis point increase in our same store parts and service gross margin was primarily the result of increases in our higher margin parts and service businesses, which includes the reconditioning and preparation of used vehicles, and warranty work.

We continue to focus on increasing our parts and service revenue, and specifically our customer pay business, over the long-term by (i) continuing to invest in additional service capacity, where appropriate, (ii) upgrading equipment, (iii) focusing on improving customer retention and customer satisfaction and (iv) capitalizing on our dealer training programs.

37


Finance and Insurance, net— 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase
 
%
Change
 
2015
 
2014
 
 
(Dollars in millions, except for per vehicle data)
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Finance and insurance, net
$
263.4

 
$
229.0

 
$
34.4

 
15
%
Finance and insurance, net per vehicle sold
$
1,397

 
$
1,341

 
$
56

 
4
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Same Store:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Finance and insurance, net
$
237.8

 
$
219.3

 
$
18.5

 
8
%
Finance and insurance, net per vehicle sold
$
1,387

 
$
1,344

 
$
43

 
3
%
F&I increased by $34.4 million (15%) during 2015 when compared to 2014. Same store F&I increased by $18.5 million (8%) due to a 5% increase in same store retail unit sales and a $43 (3%) increase in same store F&I per vehicle sold. During 2015 we continued to benefit from a favorable consumer lending environment, which allowed more of our customers to take advantage of our broad array of F&I products, and our continued focus on improving the F&I results at our lower-performing stores through our F&I training programs, which include implementing a certification process and certain best practices initiatives.
Selling, General, and Administrative Expense—
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
Increase
 
% of Gross
Profit (Decrease) Increase
 
2015
 
% of Gross
Profit
 
2014
 
% of Gross
Profit
 
 
(Dollars in millions)
As Reported:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Personnel costs
$
334.6

 
31.5
%
 
$
311.2

 
32.2
%
 
$
23.4

 
(0.7
)%
Sales compensation
115.5

 
10.9
%
 
101.3

 
10.5
%
 
14.2

 
0.4
 %
Share-based compensation
10.0

 
0.9
%
 
8.6

 
0.9
%
 
1.4

 
 %
Outside services
77.4

 
7.3
%
 
71.8

 
7.4
%
 
5.6

 
(0.1
)%
Advertising
40.1

 
3.8
%
 
34.0