Many Hyundai dealerships are poised for an upgrade. According to Automotive News, 40 of Hyundai's 803 U.S. dealerships have changed hands already this year, with 19 of those sales occurring after September 1.
The trend? More experienced dealership owners—and larger dealership groups—with bigger budgets are paying hefty sums for smaller, underperforming Hyundai stores, to potentially replace them with larger, upgraded ones.
Group 1 Automotive, AutoNation, and several large private groups have all purchased Hyundai dealerships this year, says Automotive News. And according to Hyundai, the dealerships are selling for two to three times pre-tax earnings.
With the brand's rapidly expanding market share, along with significant progress in a wide range of reliability, resale value, and quality metrics, it's an indicator that dealers and investors have confidence that Hyundai will be a major player, increasingly so, in coming years.
Hyundai has, indeed, made some significant progress with its mainstream models over the past year, especially with the introduction of the 2011 Hyundai Sonata, which is our top-rated car here and was named TheCarConnection's Best Car To Buy. The 2011 Hyundai Elantra, which we will soon drive, is a highly anticipated model that looks like it will lead the compact segment in some respects; it goes on sale next month.
The trend worth mentioning, of course, if Hyundai's move upmarket. While the brand still sells the lowest-priced car in the U.S. market—the $9,985 Hyundai Accent GL—it also sells the V-6 and V-8 powered 2011 Hyundai Genesis sedans, and the even larger, more luxurious 2011 Hyundai Equus, starting at $58,900, will soon arrive to dealerships.