Lexus (a division of Toyota) has long represented the finest in luxury for those in the automotive world. First introduced in 1989 in the United States, Lexus is now sold globally and has become Japan’s largest-selling make of premium cars. The Lexus is marketed in over 70 countries and territories worldwide, and has ranked among the 10 largest Japanese global brands in market value by global branding consultancy Interbrand.
SCOA recently purchased a Union City,Georgia-located Lexus dealership in June of this year, a location that generated $70 million in annual sales last year,moving over 2,000 new and pre-owned/certified cars onto the roads in 2010. The new goals for this, Summit Motor Management’s newest acquisition, include building on the strength of the dealership’s customer satisfaction rating as well as expanding business development and increasing profitability, according to Hironobu Shibata,Automotive Business Manager for Summit Motor Management.
“The acquisition of this dealership was a vital move for SCOA and the Automotive Business Unit to reestablish a firm foothold in the automotive industry,” Shibata said. “The U.S. automotive industry has shown gradual and consistent improvement during the last few years. As a result of our careful market research and feasibility studies,we are confident that this investment will give us the advantage to re-enter the automotive retail market ahead of our competitors, and will provide us the opportunity for growth and profitability as the market recovers to normal industry level in the coming years.
Shibata noted that the Lexus luxury brand is a good fit for Sumitomo. “This brand built its reputation over its 50 years of Toyotaassociated experience by showing their commitment to building the finest cars, doing it right from the start and having the finest dealer network in the industry,which is built on their trust, integrity and commitment,” Shibata noted. “This is evident because one of the brand’s strengths is having the most loyal customers in the industry,which is the backbone of its success in the U.S. We, as Sumitomo, share the same basic principles of doing business as we do in fulfilling our obligation to society, and we felt that we would be a good business partner with a brand and company of whom we share the same values.”
“Lexus puts its customers first, as it says in their ‘Lexus Covenant,’” continued Shibata. “It says, ‘Lexus will treat each customer as we would a guest in our home,’ which enables us to execute our mission to create value for our customers as well as contribute to the local community.” Part of SCOA’s role in supporting this operation, according to Shibata, is in the areas of finance and treasury, establishing investment/management guidelines, and providing local administrative services to assist in management of the operation. Shibata also said that this acquisition does add to the overall dealership portfolio of SCOA and Sumitomo Corporation in general.
“The addition of the Lexus brand will help us build a stronger portfolio of brands,” Shibata elaborated,“as this is the first luxury brand we have purchased in many years.We currently have other brands such asToyota,Honda, Ford,Dodge, and Mitsubishi, but this also gives us geographical diversification as our current dealerships are located in the Northwest, and this will give us a foothold in the Southeast.” Summit Motor Management is part of the worldwide portfolio of Sumitomo Corporation subsidiaries that own and operate automotive dealerships in Asia, Europe,Africa and Russia.The SCAmericas component of this operation, has a portfolio that includes three other car dealerships in the United States. Established in 1989, Summit Motor Management’s first dealership sold Mazda vehicles. Since that time, it has evolved into a holding and management company, and performs roles like accounting consolidation and internal control functions for various auto dealerships under its control. Summit Motor’s current U.S. dealerships include Toyota of Tri Cities in Kennewick,Washington;Mistubishi of Pasco, Washington; and a 49 percent stake in Crown Motors of Redding,California, a dealership that sells Ford,Dodge, Honda, and Nissan vehicles.
“This dealership will fall under the same management as our Summit Motor Management operation, so it will share exactly the same goals and principles,” Shibata said. “The management and staff of this dealership will also be able to interact, share, and sometimes compete against their peer dealerships within the group, each having the desire to be the best customer-oriented dealership in the local community. This is a vital mission for any of our group dealerships because we aim to create value for our customers in the local community and to make our business prosper.”
For more information, please contact Hironobu Shibata at Hironobu.Shibata@sumitomocorp.com