Utah firm buys 4 Tucson car dealerships

2013-04-01T00:00:00Z Utah firm buys 4 Tucson car dealershipsArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 01, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Four Tucson car dealerships have been acquired by Larry H. Miller Dealerships, a Utah-based company that owns 55 dealerships in seven Western states.

Partners John Grant of Phoenix and Doug Moreland of Colorado sold Tucson Dodge-Ram, Tucson Chrysler Jeep, Tucson Volkswagen and Tucson Fiat, but the terms of the deal are private, said Steve Starks, executive vice president for Larry H. Miller Dealerships.

The 34-year-old company also bought three dealerships in Avondale, bringing to 13 the total number of dealerships it owns throughout Arizona.

The 450 people who work for the Tucson dealerships will keep their jobs, bringing to 1,000 the number of people employed in Arizona by the company.

"Our intention is to keep everyone," Starks said. "Part of the value of the dealerships is the quality of the employees. The dealerships are all very successful, and the employees who run it day-to-day are the ones who make that happen."

Tucson customers won't see many changes at the dealerships, but the family-owned company "feels strongly about investing in the community," Starks said.

The dealership, through its charitable foundation, hopes to expand its philanthropic efforts in Tucson.

Larry H. Miller Charities has donated about $500,000 to nearly 150 nonprofit organizations in Arizona, according to a news release.

The company is so family-oriented, Starks said, it pays for the college tuition of full-time employees' dependents. Larry H. Miller pays the highest in-state tuition for the state the dependent lives in, but the equivalent can be applied toward the out-of-state college of their choice.

The company's founder, Larry H. Miller, died in 2009, but he had long been interested in the Tucson market, Starks said.

When the opportunity came to buy the Tucson properties, the company "jumped at the chance," Starks said.

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