May 28—Two Spokane car dealerships, Larry H. Miller Toyota and Lexus, have been purchased by Nevada-based Findlay Automotive Group, which has a history in the area.
The sale is the second since Larry H. Miller Group decided in 2021 to get out of the car sales business. In September , the company started by the late Miller, a onetime owner of the Utah Jazz, sold its 61 dealerships to Atlanta-based Asbury Automotive Group for $3.2 billion.
Findlay, based in Henderson, Nevada, this year purchased the Toyota and Lexus dealerships at 1128 W. Third Ave., which have a history regarding vacated city streets and demolished historic buildings.
The deal with Asbury closed on March 31, said Tyler Corder, Findlay's chief financial officer. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"I started my automotive career in Spokane," Corder said, "and I have a special fondness for it. It all made sense when the opportunity came up."
Findlay has operated Findlay Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram at 550 N. Alberta St. in Post Falls since 2007, Corder said.
"The Findlay family has summer homes on Lake Coeur d'Alene," he said. "We have some connection to the areas."
The previous dealership owners led to several discussions among city leaders after it proposed in 2013 to build a six-block campus with tree-lined boulevards in places of streets. The plan later was scaled back after the Spokane City Council in 2015 voted not to vacate a portion of Madison Street.
The expansion also included the demolition of two buildings, at 1023 and 1027 W. Third Ave., despite a late effort to save the one-story brick garage buildings after the City-County Landmarks Commission voted in 2014 that they were deemed eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
Both those discussions came years before the Miller group sold out of the car sales business. As for the new owners, they have a temporary Findlay sign up as they fight supply-chain issues to get the new signs delivered, Corder said.
"I suspect it will be 60 or 90 days before we have the permanent signs installed," he said.
As for the staff, Findlay retained all those previously working at the dealership, he said.
"We offered everybody to stay. That was part of the appeal to us," he said.
He described the Findlay Group as a family-owned company that has retained its small-business values.
"Unlike Asbury, we are a family business that owns 37 dealerships now," Corder said. "Wherever we operate, we get involved with the community. That's kind of our corporate philosophy we believe sets us apart from other people in the business."
Corder, who graduated from Montana State University, got his first job in 1980 in Spokane at GMAC Financing. He eventually transferred to Las Vegas before joining Findlay in 1994.
The company is bringing several dozen executives this summer for a managers' meeting at the Historic Davenport Hotel.
"Spokane, in my opinion, is a special place," Corder said.