Dealership Group's Bommarito Becomes Brand

The Bommarito Automotive Group sold more than 74,000 vehicles last year, helping to make it a highly recognizable auto-retailing brand in the St. Louis market. The high volume of sales has put the group on the local map. So, too, has an assortment of marketing brainstorms from Frank Bommarito, who at age 77 is still active in the business he founded. Senior Financial Manager Samuel Massey gives his

The Bommarito Automotive Group sold more than 74,000 vehicles last year, helping to make it a highly recognizable auto-retailing brand in the St. Louis market.

The high volume of sales has put the group on the local map. So, too, has an assortment of marketing brainstorms from Frank Bommarito, who at age 77 is still active in the business he founded.

Senior Financial Manager Samuel Massey gives his boss credit for keeping the Bommarito name in front of car buyers through various marketing initiatives.

Those include sponsoring a local TV news helicopter bearing the Bommarito name, dedicated websites for each of the group's 13 brands and advertising in all media on both the Missouri and Illinois side of the Mississippi River.

His multi-brand dealership complex ranks No. 40 on the Ward's Dealer 500, with revenues of $143.8 million and vehicle sales of 3,866 units. His group's total sales include 36,404 new units and 10,778 used. Fleet deliveries are nearly 27,000 units for the group at large.

Bommarito opened his first dealership in the St. Louis suburb of Ellisville in 1972. His first brands were Oldsmobile, Cadillac and GMC. The original store was renovated last year.

The early 1970s were a period when many import brands got their start. Bommarito was eager to bolster and diversify his growth by acquiring franchises from Japanese and European auto makers, while rounding out his franchises to include Buick and Chevrolet.

The group now sells Audi, Mazda, Infiniti, Volkswagen, Honda and Nissan vehicles and expanded its domestic offerings with the 2010 purchase of its first Ford dealership in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood.

“What's in a name? Plenty,” says Frank Bommarito, noting loyal customers like to buy from a name dealership, as do their descendants.

“When we started out, we feared that Cadillac-Olds-GMC would be a problem,” he says. “But we hung in there, as we added more brands, and created a brand itself, as have many other dealers such as John Bergstrom in Wisconsin, Rick Hendrick in the South and the Van Tuyls in the Midwest and Southwest.”

John Bommarito, Frank's son and the group's president, foresees revenue growth this year of nearly 9.5%, similar to the U.S. auto industry in general.

Ward's 2011 Franchise Average Revenue by Category

Franchise Category # of Dealers New Vehicle Retail Dollars Retail Units Used Vehicle Retail Dollars Retail Units Finance & Insurance Dollars Service Dollars Body Shop Dollars Parts & Accessories Dollars Total Dollars
BMW 31 $57,723,814 1,177 $31,873,268 1,175 $2,488,544 $7,682,576 $3,388,419 $11,020,514 $111,335,236
Mercedes-Benz 26 $57,025,747 1,037 $23,510,078 693 $2,016,739 $6,638,473 $9,269,861 $8,395,092 $98,299,195
Lexus 29 $53,659,823 1,211 $21,147,191 787 $1,709,003 $6,849,185 $114,457 $7,106,674 $90,495,557
Toyota 73 $50,786,351 1,944 $22,504,230 1,391 $3,042,317 $5,641,146 $3,291,988 $6,383,048 $89,123,719
Ford 33 $48,781,496 1,569 $23,008,452 1,439 $3,117,129 $4,368,287 $2,001,192 $7,475,674 $88,051,349
Chevrolet 38 $42,730,764 1,339 $21,846,235 1,240 $3,371,283 $4,312,876 $3,236,456 $9,211,645 $83,942,730
Honda 75 $46,194,737 1,941 $17,318,878 1,187 $2,585,742 $4,533,529 $3,721,362 $5,193,730 $76,422,033
Nissan 15 $37,030,333 1,460 $17,591,123 1,100 $3,011,757 $3,764,534 $3,686,755 $6,295,187 $68,430,286
Audi 6 $40,618,623 893 $13,086,069 535 $1,160,224 $3,450,653 $3,987,843 $62,303,413
Jaguar Land Rover 3 $30,639,284 454 $18,384,852 621 $1,174,769 $4,444,315 $5,527,497 $60,170,715
Cadillac 9 $34,565,979 730 $13,947,218 616 $1,053,524 $3,559,637 $2,873,400 $4,093,438 $59,135,397
Volvo 1 $25,086,954 721 $17,187,805 878 $1,567,461 $5,331,890 $9,754,148 $58,928,258
Acura 5 $29,300,382 755 $17,668,290 791 $1,748,316 $3,587,855 $2,957,796 $5,203,582 $58,691,544
Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram 13 $29,839,744 995 $15,359,442 906 $2,664,118 $3,319,922 $1,970,573 $6,458,873 $58,551,594
Infiniti 7 $31,881,717 717 $13,979,378 569 $1,323,298 $3,380,051 $4,906,287 $55,470,732
Subaru 2 $37,864,639 1,635 $10,712,992 979 $1,951,551 $2,227,235 $2,325,879 $55,082,295
Porsche 1 $32,417,214 333 $15,687,396 322 $686,260 $2,420,844 $3,711,687 $54,923,401
Buick GMC 4 $30,267,165 701 $15,704,799 821 $2,038,811 $2,842,111 $805,224 $2,608,349 $53,662,540
Ferrari 1 $12,167,477 63 $31,318,255 410 $368,229 $757,398 $994,230 $45,605,589
Multi 128 $58,009,689 1,693 $23,986,747 1,243 $3,058,903 $5,534,518 $2,276,791 $8,320,319 $100,048,570
Ward's 500 Average 500 $49,770,577 1,539 $21,742,874 1,150 $2,699,438 $5,218,598 $2,666,096 $7,257,771 $87,622,326
Ward's 500 Percentage 56.8% 24.8% 3.1% 6.0% 1.1% 8.3% 100.0%
Ward's 500 Total 500 $24,885,288,593 769,535 $10,871,437,175 575,207 $1,347,019,621 $2,609,299,164 $469,232,871 $3,628,885,380 $43,811,162,804

Note: Figures represent the average for listed brand franchises. Data are for 2010. Source: Ward's Dealer Business

TAGS: Dealers Retail
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