Group 1 Automotive Inc. announced that it has expanded its operation internationally with the acquisition of Chandlers Garage Holdings Ltd., which is comprised of three BMW/Mini dealerships in the United Kingdom. The six franchises are expected to generate approximately $180 million (91.5 million pounds) in annual revenues. The dealerships are located in southeastern England in the towns of Brighton, Worthing and Hailsham. The dealerships are the longest operating independent BMW franchises in the United Kingdom and will retain the Chandlers name.

"This acquisition gives us the opportunity to expand our holdings into a strong demographic area of a proven market, with a powerful global automotive luxury brand. The Chandlers brand name has a strong image within the local market and the competent, experienced management team will be a great addition to our company," said Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1's president and chief executive officer. "In just the past few years, the BMW and Mini brands have increased their share of the U.K. automotive luxury segment to nearly 25 percent. Given the pace of consolidation in the U.K. automotive retailing environment, we believe this is an opportune time to diversify our business and open new avenues for growth. Doing this in conjunction with a premier brand such as BMW is a tremendous opportunity for Group 1."

The Chandlers Garage management team will remain intact and report to Ian Twinley, a new addition to the Group 1 organization. Twinley is a 25-year automotive executive whose career includes 20 years working in various sales assignments for Ford Motor Company within their U.K., European and U.S. operations. For the past five years, Twinley has been a successful automotive retailer in the U.K. market. He will report directly to Hesterberg.

In addition, the company reached an agreement with Roger Prowting to lead the acquisition and integration initiatives for Group 1 in the United Kingdom. "Roger has 34 years of automotive experience in the U.K. market and will be a great source for local-market opportunities. He will assist Twinley in the integration of the dealership operations as our holdings grow," said Randy L. Callison, Group 1's Senior Vice President, Operations and Corporate Development.

Year to date, Group 1 has acquired nine franchises with $303.1 million in estimated annual revenues towards its stated goal of $600 million for the year. In addition, the company has disposed of three franchises with annual revenues of $48.2 million in 2007.