Lithia adds to holdings with Idaho purchase

Lithia Motors has strengthened its presence in eastern Idaho with the acquisition of Broadway Ford in Idaho Falls.

The Idaho Falls Post Register reported the deal closed on Wednesday.

It is the Medford auto retailer’s fifth dealership operation in Idaho. The company also runs Lithia Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and Ram in Pocatello, 81 miles south on Interstate 15; Chevrolet of Twin Falls and Lithia Chrysler Jeep Dodge of Twin Falls; and Lithia Ford Lincoln of Boise, where it also has paint and body operations as well as a finance center.

Idaho has nominally been a top-10 market for Lithia, but is more likely to overtake Alaska than Pennsylvania, where Lithia has bought two dealership groups in the past year.

Broadway Ford opened in 1984, and Mont Crnkovich took over the family business in 1992. The dealership moved into a $4.8 million, 27,000-square-foot showroom and shop in 2015.

While Lithia has made splashes with dealership groups in major metropolitan markets such as Los Angeles, Buffalo, greater New York and Pittsburgh in recent months, the Idaho deal is more akin to the November acquisition of Crater Lake Motors in Medford.

Lithia Motors had revenue of more than $10 billion in 2017. Although new acquisitions have altered the mix during the first three months of the year, Ford sales accounted for just 7 percent of Lithia’s $5.6 billion in new car sales. Including General Motors and Chrysler, domestic sales amounted to less than a third of Lithia’s new car income. Historically, Lithia has been one of the largest Chrysler retailers in the country.

The most recent Ford acquisition by Lithia was Day Ford outside of Pittsburgh, in February.

“We are just looking for a brand mix that is somewhat representative of national mix, with no more than 20 percent exposure to any one (manufacturer),” said John North, Lithia’s chief financial officer. “Given the acquisition market, the mix is somewhat unpredictable at (one) point in time.”

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

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