HOUSTON, Apr 11, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE:GPI), a Fortune 500 specialty retailer, today announced the appointment of Earl J. Hesterberg as Chief Executive Officer and President and as a director.
Mr. Hesterberg, 51, most recently served as Group Vice President, North America Marketing, Sales and Service for Ford Motor Company. Prior to this position, he served in a similar role for Ford Europe. Hesterberg has also served as President of Gulf States Toyota, as well as held various senior sales, marketing, general management, and parts and service positions with Nissan Motor Corporation in U.S.A.
"Group 1 Automotive has assembled a tremendous group of employees and franchises that are well positioned to capitalize on opportunities in the automotive retailing sector," Hesterberg said. "I am excited to be a part of such a dynamic and forward-thinking group."
B.B. Hollingsworth, Jr., a co-founder of Group 1, will retire as an executive of the Company, but will continue as a member of the Board of Directors. Mr. Hollingsworth has served as Chairman of the Board since March 1997 and as President, Chief Executive Officer and a director of Group 1 since August 1996.
"I am pleased that Earl will be joining the Group 1 management team," said Hollingsworth. "His broad geographic, brand and management experience will enhance our abilities to achieve our goals. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the other founders of Group 1, as well as all of the other co-workers who have worked so hard to make our dream a reality."
In addition, the Board appointed John L. Adams, the Company's current presiding director, as non-executive Chairman of the Board. Mr. Adams has been a member of the Board since November 1999. Mr. Adams is currently Executive Vice President of Trinity Industries, Inc., one of North America's largest manufacturers of transportation, construction and industrial products. Prior to joining Trinity, he was Chairman and CEO of Texas Commerce Bank, National Association (Chase Bank of Texas).
"We are deeply appreciative of the role Ben has played in establishing Group 1 as one of the leading players in the automotive retailing industry," said Mr. Adams. "We look forward to building on that strength and capitalizing on Earl's extensive background in the automotive sector as he directs the Company's strategy for continued growth and higher levels of profitability."
About Group 1 Automotive, Inc.
Group 1 owns 96 automotive dealerships comprised of 142 franchises, 33 brands and 32 collision service centers located in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Through its dealerships and Internet sites, the company sells new and used cars and light trucks; arranges related financing, vehicle service and insurance contracts; provides maintenance and repair services; and sells replacement parts.
Group 1 Automotive can be reached on the Internet at www.group1auto.com.
This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements include statements regarding our plans, goals, or current expectations, with respect to, among other things:
-- our future operating performance
-- our ability to improve our margins
-- the completion of future acquisitions
-- the future revenues of acquired dealerships
Any such forward-looking statements are not assurances of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from anticipated results in the forward-looking statements for a number of reasons, including:
-- the future economic environment, including consumer confidence, interest rates, the price of gasoline, the level of manufacturer incentives and the availability of consumer credit may affect the demand for new and used vehicles, replacement parts, maintenance and repair services and finance and insurance products
-- adverse international developments such as war, terrorism, political conflicts or other hostilities may adversely affect the demand for our products and services
-- the future regulatory environment, unexpected litigation or adverse legislation, including changes in state franchise laws, may impose additional costs on us or otherwise adversely affect us
-- our principal automobile manufacturers, especially Toyota/Lexus, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Honda/Acura and Nissan/Infiniti, may not continue to produce or make available to us vehicles that are in high demand by our customers
-- requirements imposed on us by our manufacturers may limit our acquisitions and require us to increase the level of capital expenditures related to our dealership facilities
-- our dealership operations may not perform at expected levels or achieve expected improvements
-- our failure to achieve expected future cost savings or future costs being higher than we expect
-- available capital resources and various debt agreements may limit our ability to complete acquisitions, complete construction of new or expanded facilities and repurchase shares
-- our cost of financing could increase significantly
-- new accounting standards could materially impact our reported earnings per share
-- our inability to complete additional acquisitions or changes in the pace of acquisitions
-- the inability to adjust our cost structure to offset any reduction in the demand for our products and services
-- our loss of key personnel
-- competition in our industry may impact our operations or our ability to complete acquisitions
-- the failure to achieve expected sales volumes from our new franchises
-- insurance costs could increase significantly and all of our losses may not be covered by insurance
-- our inability to obtain inventory of new and used vehicles and parts, including imported inventory, at the cost or in the volume we expect
These factors, as well as additional factors that could affect our operating results and performance, are described in our Form 10-K under the headings "Business-Risk Factors" and "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations." We urge you to carefully consider this information.
All forward-looking statements attributable to us are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. We undertake no responsibility to update our forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Group 1 Automotive, Inc.
At GROUP 1:
B.B. Hollingsworth, Jr., 713-647-5700
Robert T. Ray, 713-647-5700
Kim Paper Canning, 713-647-5700
Russell A. Johnson, 713-513-9515