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Lithia buys dealerships in Salem

 Posted: 3:15 PM June 10, 2013

Lithia Motors said it has acquired a group of dealerships in Salem, expanding both its Oregon and luxury line holdings.

Medford-based Lithia, the nation's ninth-largest auto retailer, followed up on a group of upscale Portland dealerships in the spring of 2011 with the purchase of O'Brien Auto Group of Salem. The stores will be named BMW of Salem, Honda of Salem and Volkswagen of Salem, and add $110 million in estimated annual revenues, Lithia said.

"These stores fit our strategy of seeking exclusive franchises in the markets we serve," Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement. "The opportunity to deepen our relationship with manufacturer partners like BMW, Honda and Volkswagen is a key to achieving our acquisition growth objectives."

O'Brien Auto Group, a Bellevue, Wash.-based dealer has operated the Salem franchises since 2007. The latest move pushes Lithia's store count to 88 in 11 states and adds 125 new employees.

The downtown dealerships were closed Monday while the transition took place. Lithia has indicated it will move the dealerships to a larger location on the Salem Parkway the second half of 2014.

— Greg Stiles

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