Lithia cool to Fiat stores

MEDFORD, Ore. — Lithia Motors Inc., which gets almost 30 percent of its sales from Chrysler Group brands, doesn't plan to seek much Fiat business as the Italian brand prepares to return to the United States.

Chrysler dealers have been invited to apply for about 200 available Fiat franchises to be awarded later this year. Lithia CEO Sid DeBoer says he's not yet sure whether Lithia, the nation's ninth-largest retailer, will go after the franchises.

DeBoer said Lithia has one Chrysler store with an empty showroom on its property, and acquiring the Fiat franchise might be a good solution for that location. Lithia executives will attend an August briefing in Detroit to learn more about Fiat's plans.

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