Ed Morse Automotive Group, already one of the nation’s largest dealership groups, just got a bit bigger as it entered a new state, adding four Detroit 3 stores.
The Delray Beach, Fla., group and CEO Teddy Morse this week bought three dealerships in Missouri from Larry Lindsay and Darrell Lindsay and one from Ken Rhinehart. Terms of the deals weren’t disclosed.
The Morse-Lindsay transaction, which closed Monday, was for Lindsay Chevrolet and Lindsay Ford in Lebanon and Lindsay Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in St. Robert. Both cities are southwest of St. Louis along Interstate 44.
The stores have been renamed Ed Morse Chevrolet Lebanon, Ed Morse Ford Lebanon and Ed Morse Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram Saint Robert.
Teddy Morse told Automotive News that he learned about the Lindsay stores in the fall.
“Missouri is a great car market; it’s actually a great truck market,” he said. “We’ve just been looking to grow for the last couple of years.”
Morse said meeting the dealerships’ staffs sold him on expanding into Missouri. The group also has stores in Florida, Oklahoma and Texas.
“We could buy buildings, we could buy dirt, we can buy cars anywhere in the country,” Morse said. “But the people, the people are what makes the store run.”
Ed Morse group on Wednesday acquired Fairground Auto Plaza in Rolla from Rhinehart, which has been renamed Ed Morse Chevrolet-Buick-GMC Rolla. Morse said Performance Brokerage Services, a dealership buy-sell firm in Irvine, Calif., that handled both transactions, told him about the opportunity as he was looking at the Lindsay stores.
Rolla also is along I-44, and all four stores are within about an hour’s drive and give the group “a nice footprint,” Morse said.
Ed Morse Automotive ranks No. 60 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 14,169 new vehicles in 2020. The group last year generated more than $1.3 billion in revenue.
The company, in its 75th year, now has 24 dealership locations and 42 franchises and represents 15 automotive brands. Ed Morse, Teddy’s grandfather, started the business in 1946 when he founded Morse Motors.
In 2020, the company expanded into northern Texas and Oklahoma when it bought three Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand dealerships from Hoyte Auto Group. A year earlier, it entered the Dallas market when it acquired two dealerships — one selling General Motors brands, the other FCA brands — from Roundtree Automotive Group.
And Morse indicated his group isn’t done buying.
“There is going to be more growth for the Ed Morse auto group this year,” he said.