Jeff Bennett:

U.S. car dealerships changed hands at an accelerated pace this year boosted by robust new-car demand, strong dealer profits and an increased focus on the business following Warren Buffett’s purchase of a Phoenix-based chain.

A total of 456 dealerships have been acquired thus far in 2015, a 40% increase over the prior year, according to The Banks Report, which tracks merger and acquisitions in car retailing. The gains comes as industry analysts expect U.S. vehicle sales to reach 17.5 million this year and expand again next year.