Suburban buys Don Massey, Capitol Cadillac from Sonic

Detroit Free Press (MI) |

June 24--The Suburban Collection, Michigan's largest privately held auto dealership group, acquired Don Massey Cadillac in Plymouth and Capitol Cadillac in Lansing Tuesday afternoon from Sonic Automotive for an undisclosed price.

Founded by Don Massey in 1966, the Cadillac dealership on Ann Arbor Road in Plymouth became part of a 16-store empire before dealerships were sold to Charlotte, N.C.-based Sonic in 2002. Massey also owned Capitol Cadillac until 2002 when he also sold it to Sonic.

"They both are really kind of iconic stores. Don Massey Cadillac in Plymouth was the No. 1 Cadillac store in the nation for years," David Fischer, chairman and CEO of the Suburban Collection said. "It's been run by a company in Charlotte, and we think it just needed some good down-home management."

The 73,000-square-foot Don Massey Cadillac dealership in Plymouth employs about 90 while about 45 work at the Lansing location.

The Don Massey name, however, will not survive the acquisition.

"Years ago, we made a decision to label everything with the Suburban name," Fischer said. "So this will become Suburban Cadillac of Plymouth and Suburban Cadillac of Lansing."

Massey, who began his career in Jacksonville, Fla., was best known for his distinctive radio ads. He died in 2011.

Suburban Collection, which also owns Cadillac dealerships in Troy, Ann Arbor and Costa Mesa, Calif., is the nation's 18th largest dealer group. Its reach includes 32 automakers with stores in Michigan, Florida, Illinois, Wisconsin and California.

Founded in 1948 by Richard Fischer as a single Oldsmobile dealership in Birmingham, Suburban has nearly doubled in sales over the past decade.

"We have refocused our company ? we were investing in other parts of the country and we just think the Michigan story is fantastic right now," Fischer said.

Suburban Collection was among the first 86 dealers to be awarded Alfa Romeo franchises. Suburban Alfa Romeo will be in Ann Arbor as part of Suburban Fiat.

"I think Alfa Romeo is a boutique franchise right now. The new 4C is an incredibly highly acclaimed sports car but it will be sold in very limited volume."

Contact Brent Snavely: 313-222-6512 or bsnavely@freepress.com

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