That’s the word from Dan DeVos, president and CEO of DP Fox Ventures LLC, the parent company of Fox Motors.
DeVos told MiBiz that Fox Motors plans to open a new Fiat dealership in Traverse City by the end of the year. The new dealership would be the second Fiat location in West Michigan. Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Auto Group is building a 6,000-square-foot Fiat dealership in Grandville that is expected to open this fall. Fiat has 178 locations in 44 states, compared with about 140 in March.
While Fiat is opening franchises across the country, other opportunities for new franchises are limited. The dearth of new franchises and lack of acquisition opportunities in West Michigan have spurred DeVos to look outside his home state for the first time. He’s eyeing the urban Chicago market at the encouragement of Ford Motor Co., he said.
The Chicago Ford-Lincoln store would be Fox Motors’ first dealership outside of Michigan. The $489.4 million (revenues) dealer group operates 20 dealerships selling 40 brands in West Michigan, the northern Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula.
“It’s a big step,” DeVos said. “We were just looking for growth opportunities and we keep talking to all our manufacturers and asking them where they see growth, where they see potential.
“We’re still working to secure some land, but I think it will happen very soon,” DeVos said. He expects to build a new building and to open the new dealership within the next 18 to 24 months, he said.