PHOENIX -- Bert Pitre, founder of Pitre Automotive Group, died July 10 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 79.
After graduating from General Motors Institute in Flint, Mich., in the 1950s, Pitre went to work at a Buick-Cadillac dealership in Saginaw, Mich. In the 1960s he bought a Chevrolet-Cadillac store in Greenville, Mich. In 1973, he sold it and moved to Scottsdale to open a Buick dealership.
By the late 1990s Pitre had opened several area stores selling many brands, such as Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Chrysler, Plymouth, Jeep, Eagle, Subaru, Isuzu and Hyundai.
In 1998 he sold Pitre Automotive Group to Republic Industries of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., which became AutoNation Inc. in 1999.