Penske enters Asia with equity buy into Japan luxury dealership

Penske Automotive Group Inc. has entered the Asian market.

The auto retailer said late Thursday it acquired a 49 percent equity stake in the Nicole Group, a luxury dealership group with operations in Tokyo and Kanagawa, Japan.

Nicole Group operates four BMW and three Mini dealerships, one of three Rolls-Royce stores and one of seven Ferrari dealerships in Japan, and two stand-alone service centers and two pre-owned showrooms.

The Nicole Group, one of the largest privately owned BMW/Mini dealers in Japan, is also the exclusive importer and distributor of BMW Alpina vehicles for Japan, Penske said in a statement.

“We are thrilled with the opportunity to enter the Japanese market with a strong and established local partner,” Penske Chairman Roger Penske said in a statement.

Penske said the Nicole Group has won BMW dealership in Japan honors “a record seven times.”

“As imports continue to grow market share in Japan, combined with the group’s solid reputation in the marketplace, we expect to leverage the strength of the existing business while driving further expansion through organic growth and future acquisitions,” Penske said.

The group we bought owns one of only three Rolls Royce dealerships in Japan and only one of seven Ferrari dealerships in Japan too.

Penske Automotive said it will treat its ownership stake as an equity investment, with its pro rata share of income reported as equity in earnings of affiliates on its income statements.

Because it’s a joint venture, Penske will not realize any incremental revenue. 

Penske ranks No. 2 on the Automotive News list of the top 150 dealership groups in the United States, with retail sales of 216,462 new vehicles in 2014.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com. — Follow Jamie on Twitter


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