Sonic Automotive to Buy 3 Local Dealerships

Sonic Automotive Inc., the country's second-largest publicly traded auto dealership group, said it is acquiring five new dealerships, three of them in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Terms were not disclosed.

Sonic currently owns 30 collision-repair shops and 165 dealerships, including four in the Los Angeles area and three in San Diego County.

The auto retailers it is adding are Buena Park Honda, Harbor City Honda and West Covina Toyota locally; Capitol Ford in San Jose; and Nils Sefeldt Volvo in Houston.

Sonic said the deals should be completed early in the fourth quarter and would add 6 to 8 cents a share to 2002 earnings.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company, which reported net profit of $74.2 million on sales of $6.05 billion last year, trails Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based AutoNation Inc., which owns more than 400 auto franchises. Sonic shares closed at $17.85 on the New York Stock Exchange, up 57 cents.

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