The second-largest publicly held car dealer in the US is in talks to acquire several dealerships with combined annual revenue totalling $500 million, reports Bloomberg News (26/7/00).

Sonic Automotive Inc., based in Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to expand its existing operations in both the Western and Southern states, according to its President and Chief Operating Officer, B. Scott Smith.

Currently operating 168 franchises and 30 collision repair centres, Sonic also announced (26/7/00) a doubling of second quarter earnings. Net income rose to $22.5 million this year from $10.1 million last year, translating into 51 cents a share in 2000 from 30 cents a year earlier. These results came on the back of a doubling in revenue from $723.5 million to $1.5 billion.

The acquisition of 55 dealerships in the past year is said to be a major factor in the income rise.