RML Automotive, formerly called RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive, grew to 24 stores from two in 10 years, says Franklin McLarty, CEO of the Little Rock, Ark., dealership group.
It sells about 35,000 to 40,000 new and used cars a year and earns about $1.4 billion annually in revenue, he says.
"We have a general counsel and a vice president of human resources, a CFO and a COO," McLarty said. "We do have a corporate infrastructure, and we grew that as we grew. We tried not to allow our revenue to outrun our infrastructure."
McLarty says having the added staff has made due diligence, negotiation and the ability to a close a deal easier than when the company was smaller.
RML's larger size also allows it to attract and retain better talent because it can offer career growth across its two dozen stores, McLarty says.
But there are challenges to size. One is a limit to potential purchases if RML has to invest too much in a too-small dealership to get a return, McLarty says.
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