Fox Motors buys 3 SE Michigan dealerships

GREAT RAPIDS — Fox Motor Group LLC has expanded its holdings in southeast Michigan with the acquisition of three dealerships from Ken Garff Automotive LLC.

In the deal, Grand Rapids-based Fox Motors picked up Cadillac of Novi, Southfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM and Telegraph Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, according to a statement.

The addition of Cadillac of Novi marks the first time Fox Motors will sell the General Motors luxury brand.

Fox now operates five stores in the metro Detroit area, including BMW of Farmington Hills and Jaguar Land Rover Farmington Hills, which the dealer group acquired last year.

“The plan was to grow in Metro Detroit after we entered last December, we just didn’t know how quickly it would happen,” Fox Motors Chairman and CEO Dan DeVos said in a statement. “The three new locations are a natural fit, given the location of our current Fox Motors dealerships.”

Under the ownership of Fox Motors, Cadillac of Novi will continue to operate under the same branding, Southfield Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM will become Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Southfield, and Telegraph Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM will be renamed Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM of Taylor.

Fox Motors plans to create a “luxury destination” in Novi later this year, when its Jaguar Land Rover Farmington Hills store moves across the street from the Cadillac of Novi location.

With the acquisition, Fox Motors’ portfolio includes 46 automotive and powersports brands at 38 locations spanning Michigan and Illinois. The company hired 250 people from the Ken Garff Automotive stores. Across its portfolio, Fox now employs 1,875 people.

“My family has known the Garff family for years,” DeVos said in a statement. “It has been a pleasure to work with their team these last few months. Both the Fox family and Garff family have built a legacy by putting people first. The employees and community will continue to receive the same remarkable customer service and care they are accused to.”

With the sale, Salt Lake City, Utah-based Ken Garff Automotive has exited the Michigan market after running the metro Detroit stores for eight years. The company, which continues to operate stores in Utah, California, Iowa, Texas, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado, was advised on the deal by investment banking firm Stephens Inc.

“These are great dealerships that serve their communities well and we’re confident Fox Motors will continue to operate them in the best way possible,” Ken Garff Automotive CEO Brett Hopkins said in a statement.

The deals come amid a strong period for M&A in the automotive dealership sector. According to the most recent report from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based dealership investment banking firm Haig Partners LLC, 86 dealerships changed hands in the first quarter of this year. That was down 13 percent from last year’s record pace, but “off to another strong start,” according to The Haig Report, which noted spending by publicly traded retailers was ahead of last year.

“Despite the decline, the outlook for the rest of 2022 is promising,” executives at Haig Partners wrote in the report. “Dealership profits continue to rise even higher, and many dealers are bullish about the outlook for auto retail. Prices will remain high. But it’s also possible that we won’t have as many megadeals come to market in 2022.”

Fox Motors ranked 76th nationally with new car sales of 13,244 units, according to a report from Automotive Newswhich listed the company’s overall revenues at nearly $1.17 billion.

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