Continuing to grow its presence “with a strong brand in a market we love,” Larry H. Miller Dealerships announced on Friday its acquisition of Berge Ford in Mesa, Ariz.
In other dealer news, Lithia Motors in Medford, Ore., promoted Tina Miller to chief accounting officer.
The Larry H. Miller acquisition increases number of the dealership group’s Phoenix metro area stores to nine. Larry H. Miller Dealerships opened its first Valley location in Arizona, Larry H. Miller Toyota Peoria, in 1980.
Larry H. Miller will give a new name to the store’s sales and service center: Larry H. Miller Ford Mesa. Larry H. Miller will also rename the location’s collision center, commercial vehicle center and off-site quick lane to Larry H. Miller Collision Center East Valley; Larry H. Miller Ford Mesa Commercial Vehicle Center; and Larry H. Miller Quick Lane Tire and Auto Center. The dealership also features The Pit Stop, which is a café and coffee shop.
Larry H. Miller Dealerships will retain the dealership’s existing employees. That brings the total number of Arizona-based personnel at 13 dealership locations to more than 1,500. Larry H. Miller Dealerships now operates 63 dealership locations with 20 different automotive brands. The company operates in seven western states, beginning with a single dealership in Murray, Utah, in 1979.
The Berge family has owned and operated Berge Ford for more than 75 years.
“We’re thrilled to continue to grow our presence with a strong brand in a market we love,” Larry H. Miller Dealerships president Dean Fitzpatrick said in a news release. He added that Berge Ford has been named a Ford Triple Crown winner.
Berge Ford president Nancy Berge said that when determining a buyer, her company looked for a family-owned company with values and culture to match that of her business.
“We hand-selected Larry H. Miller Dealerships for the alignment of culture, their focus on giving back in the community and the way they treat their employees,” Berge said in a news release. “We know the dealership will be in good hands.”
Larry H. Miller Dealerships senior vice president of operations in Arizona, Pat Kroneberger, agreed that Berge Ford’s culture aligned well with the Miller dealerships.
“We’re excited to welcome the employees into our organization and share with them the mission, vision and values upon which Larry and Gail built our company,” Kroneberger said in a news release.
Regarding the Lithia Motors news, Miller has served as corporate controller for the company since 2015 and served for Lithia Motors in different accounting and audit leadership roles for 14 years. Miller previously worked in the assurance area for Ernst & Young.
Miller in her new role will oversee accounting, financial reporting, tax and risk management. She will also serve as the company’s interim principal financial officer.
“We appreciate Tina’s dedication to excellence and accuracy,” Lithia president and chief executive officer Bryan DeBoer said. “We’re excited to expand her influence and we’re confident she’ll continue to build wonderful teams.”