New car dealers in the Tucson region have a new competitor but despite their earlier concerns it's not going to change a long-standing tradition of dealerships closing on Sundays.
Larry H. Miller Dealerships today formally announced its purchase of four dealerships formerly owned by the Avondale Auto Group: Tucson Dodge Ram, 4220 E. 22nd St.; Tucson Chrysler Jeep, 7800 E. 22nd St.; Tucson Volkswagen, 900 W. Auto Mall Drive; and Tucson Fiat, 1000 W. Wetmore Road.
In addition to the Tucson dealerships, the Salt Lake City-based group has acquired Avondale's three dealerships in Avondale, adding to five it already owned in the Phoenix market. John Grant and Doug Moreland were the principal partners in the Avondale Group.
“Larry H. Miller Dealerships has been an active member of the Arizona community for more than 30 years,” Dean Fitzpatrick, president of Larry H. Miller Dealerships, saind in the formal announcement. “In addition to providing our guests with options to suit various price points and styles, we are also committed to giving back to the community by assisting local nonprofit organizations. The addition of the dealerships in Tucson will allow us to expand our footprint as well as our philanthropic efforts.
With the expansion into the Tucson market, Larry H. Miller Dealerships will increase the number of Arizona-based employees to more than 1,000. The company says it is retaining the existing employees of the four Tucson dealerships.
“An important part of the purchase value of these dealerships is the employees,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are impressed with the corporate culture at these stores and the high-caliber, experienced people who work there. We feel that they are a great fit for our organization.”
Avondale's John Grant said, “It is always a difficult decision to make when selling our dealerships to a new group. It is important to both me and Doug that we select a company that values its customers and employees. Our decision was made easier knowing how Larry H. Miller Dealerships conducts business and the benefits they offer their workers.”
Also as part of the formal announcement, Larry H. Miller Dealerships said it plans on maintaining the traditions of doing business already established by the Tucson dealerships, including being closed for business on Sundays.
After word got out of the acquisitions last month, other Tucson area dealers confided they anticipated their large new competitor might change that tradition. Currently only AutoNation's two new car dealerships, BMW Tucson, 855 W. Wetmore Road, and Dobbs Honda, 810 W. Wetmore Road, are open for sales on Sundays.
With these latest acquisitions, Larry H. Miller Dealerships said it will remain No. 10 on the Automotive News list of top 125 dealership groups in the country, now operating 19 different automotive brands at 55 locations in seven Western states.
The late Larry H. Miller opened his first dealership, a Toyota franchise, in 1979 in suburban Salt Lake City in partnership with an uncle. Miller died in February 2009 at the age of 69 from complications of diabetes.The company remains privately owned by the Larry H. and Gail Miller family.
In addition to the Arizona and Salt Lake City operations, the company has dealerships serving the metropolitan areas of Denver and Colorado Springs; Albuquerque; Portland, Ore.; Spokane, Wash.; and Boise, Idaho.
A separate of division of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies owns the NBA Utah Jazz and other sports and entertainment properties.
Larry H. Miller Dealerships says it has a strong legacy of giving back to communities where they do business. Through its charitable foundation, Larry H. Miller Charities, approximately $500,000 has been donated to nearly 150 qualified nonprofit organizations throughout Arizona including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and Special Olympics Arizona. The company says it will expand its philanthropic efforts into the Tucson region with its expansion here.