Five billionaires with extensive auto dealership holdings are on the Forbes Magazine roster of the 400 wealthiest Americans.
B.J. (Red) McCombs, 80, oversees an eight-dealership group of Ford, Lexus and Toyota stores headquartered in San Antonio, TX. Early in 2008 he bought $100 million worth of stock in China's Brilliance Automotive Holdings, whose prime activity is producing Brilliance cars, trucks and buses and BMW 3-Series and 5-Series cars in a joint venture. McCombs' net worth is put at $1.7 billion.
Roger Penske, 71, is chairman and CEO of Penske Automotive Group, a publicly-owned dealership network, and of Penske Corp., whose prime asset is the No. 1 volume dealer Longo Toyota in El Monte, CA.
Based in Birmingham, MI, Penske has seen his net worth tumble from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion in 2007-2008. He controls more than 300 dealerships, including 75 with franchises for the Smart minicar, introduced in the U.S. this year.
The newest member in the auto-related group is Norman Braman, 76, who owns 16 dealerships in his headquarters town of Miami and in Palm Beach, FL, and Denver.
With a net worth of $1.7 billion, Braman also has an art collection worth an estimated $1 billion. Braman entered the auto business in 1972 by buying a Cadillac store in Tampa, FL.
Also on the Forbes' list is Thomas Friedkin, 73, who owns Toyota distributor Gulf States Toyota, based in Houston. His net worth is put at $2 billion, with annual sales of the distributorship exceeding $4 billion. Gulf States covers AK, LA, MS, OK and TX for Toyota and Lexus.
On the list again is H. Wayne Huizenga, 70, a major shareholder in AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest dealership chain, which he founded in 1996. His net worth is put at $2.2 billion. AutoNation has 224 dealerships.