Michigan based Suburban Collection car dealerships sold to Oregon company

DETROIT – One of the largest car dealership chains in the country, based in Metro Detroit, is about to acquire a new owner.

The Suburban Collection sold dozens of dealerships in Metro Detroit to an Oregon-based group in a bid to dramatically change the way cars, trucks, and SUVs are sold.

It was recently announced that the company is not selling all of its operations, just its Michigan dealers, to Lithia Motors of Medford, Oregon.

That big sale could mean big changes too.

The Suburban Collection car group was founded in 1948 by Richard Fischer, David T. Fischer’s father, as an Oldsmobile dealership.

Over 70 years, the company grew into a massive dealer organization with domestic and foreign nameplates in five states and operations in Canada.

You don’t have to drive far through Metro Detroit to see a Suburban Collection dealer.

In total, Suburban Collection has 34 locations with 56 different franchises, 2,250 employees with 33 brands and a large online presence. This makes Suburban Collection the twelfth largest retailer group in the country.

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That is exactly what Lithia Motors is looking for, which is just a little bigger.

Lithia Motors also owns the online auto site Driveway and seeks to move vehicles through its dealerships. Adding suburbs helps Driveway a lot, which is why autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs says that consolidation is the way forward.

“Consumers have been saying for years that they want to do more of the selling process online and that they want pickup and delivery and the like. Now, during the pandemic, this is the only way to sell cars and so we are looking more towards such a process on the internet, ”she said.

Krebs says that by hiring more tech-savvy salespeople, the retailer experience will become more personalized, and as the business changes, the buying experience should change too.

“Consumers who buy their vehicles this new way are much happier,” said Krebs.

David Fischer Jr., who heads the Suburban Collection, will stay with the new owners and he says that not only will the current employees stay with the company, he also expects expansion when the driveway takes hold.

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