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The Keller Ford dealership at 3385 Alpine Ave. NW in Walker. The Keller Ford dealership at 3385 Alpine Ave. NW in Walker. COURTESY PHOTO

SE Michigan dealer group scoops up Keller Ford store in Walker

BY Tuesday, August 30, 2022 11:58am

WALKER — Keller Ford Inc. has sold to a southeast Michigan dealership group. 

With the acquisition of the 52,000-square-foot store at 3385 Alpine Ave. NW in Walker, LaFontaine Automotive Group LLC is making its first entry into the Grand Rapids metropolitan area market. 

The company has been eyeing the West Michigan area as a growth opportunity, according to CEO Ryan LaFontaine, who called the market “a tremendous opportunity for continued growth.”

LaFontaine Automotive Group has acquired 17 Michigan retail locations in the last five years, including four acquisitions in 2021. 

“As we continue to expand, we don’t do it for it for today, we do it for the future — to be able to better serve our customers and to provide career growth for our employees,” LaFontaine added.

The Keller Ford dealership is the fourth Ford store in LaFontaine Automotive Group’s portfolio. The dealership group, based in Highland in Oakland County, operates 52 retail franchises at 30 Michigan retail locations.

LaFontaine Automotive Group will rebrand the Walker location as LaFontaine Ford of Grand Rapids.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The companies did not work with any brokers on the transaction, according to a statement. 

The acquisition marks a new entry into the West Michigan market that’s heavily dominated by three other family-owned or closely-held operators: Kalamazoo-based Zeigler Auto Group Inc., Dan DeVos-owned Fox Motor Group LLC in Grand Rapids and Muskegon-based Betten Baker Auto Group

Founded in 1980, LaFontaine Automotive Group ranked 33rd in the Automotive News ranking of dealership groups for 2021 with new car sales of 24,399 units. The company generated gross revenues of approximately $2.01 billion, according to Automotive News data. 

“Grand Rapids is [a] very community-focused city and we have already started partners across the community to partner with and create initiatives that will connect families and strengthen communities,” Kelley LaFontaine, vice president at LaFontaine Automotive Group, said in a statement. “As a family-owned and operated business, we know our continued success and growth is more than just selling and servicing cars, it’s about giving back in our local communities and never losing focus that our employees are our greatest asset.”

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