Lithia Motors Poised to Acquire Michigan’s Suburban Collection

Lithia Motors Inc. is poised to acquire southeast Michigan’s Suburban Collection, one of the nation’s biggest privately-owned dealership groups, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The deal, giving Lithia a key foothold in the Midwest, could be announced as early as this week, according to the source.

The purchase covers nearly all of the Suburban Collections’s retail automotive operations and property and is expected to close this summer, the source said.

The planned acquisition was reported earlier by cbtnews.com.

Suburban CEO David Fischer Jr. declined to comment.

Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer on Sunday also declined to comment on the matter, adding the company doesn’t disclose information about partnerships and transactions before they’re finalized. But DeBoer added Lithia expects growth in 2021 to be on par or exceed 2020’s pace of acquisitions.

The Suburban Collection posted $2.7 billion in 2019 revenue with a concentration of Detroit 3, luxury and import stores. The longtime leader of the family enterprise, David Fischer Sr., recently stepped down as U.S. ambassador to Morocco with the change in White House administrations. The group encompasses 33 brands represented at more than 54 locations in the U.S. and Canada, mostly in Southeast Michigan, according to its website. It ranked 18th on the Automotive News list of the largest dealership groups in 2019.

In addition to new-and used-vehicle dealerships, Suburban operates collision and accessory distribution centers while providing fleet management and retrofitting services. The group is based near Detroit in Troy, Mich.

Lithia, the nation’s third-biggest publicly traded dealership group, has been on a buying spree.

The company disclosed or closed on deals with $3.5 billion in annual revenue in the second half of 2020, with an additional $3 billion in deals expected to close in the first half of 2021. The Medford, Ore., company is targeting $3 billion to $5 billion in deals annually.

Shares in Lithia have been surging since last March when they were trading in the mid-$60 range. They closed Friday at $318.68.

Source: Lithia said to be near deal to buy Michigan’s Suburban Collection