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Lithia: No deal yet on Geweke Toyota in Lodi

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Posted: Friday, October 18, 2013 12:00 am

Although Geweke Auto Group released a statement Wednesday saying that its Toyota Scion dealership is being sold, the second party in the deal said nothing has been confirmed.

John North, Lithia Automotive Group’s Controller and Vice President of Finance, said his company had not purchased the dealership at 1020 S. Beckman St. on Thursday morning.

North would not comment on the Geweke announcement because he said it was “rumored.”

“We haven’t purchased any dealership in Lodi,” he said Thursday. “When and if we do, we can comment. But until then, there has been no transaction.”

Geweke Auto Group announced Wednesday its Toyota Scion dealership located at 1020 S. Beckman Road was being sold to the Medford, Ore.-based Lithia Automotive Group.

The Geweke Auto Group has been in business for more than 40 years, serving Lodi, Yuba and Sutter counties. The Toyota Scion dealership was opened in 1991 at its current location and has 55 current employees, according to its website.

The Gewekes said in Wednesday’s press release they will continue to operate the Yuba and Sutter county dealerships, as well as a body shop located at 102 Hansen Drive, which has served Lodi since 1973.

Pat Patrick, Lodi District Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer, said he heard rumors over the last few days regarding a possible sale. He said while he didn’t think anything was confirmed, the dealership should continue to thrive under new ownership.

“It certainly operates well, and it’s in a good location in terms of visibility,” he said. “It’s had a good, steady workforce and Toyota is a very strong brand.”

While he didn’t know much about Lithia and its history, Patrick said he believed the company will be very successful in Lodi. He also thought many of the employees at the dealership would most likely remain with Lithia.

The Gewekes also operated a Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership from 2002-2009 at 1255 S. Beckman Road. That site has recently been given the green light by Chrysler to reopen, and will be called Lodi Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. The new dealership is expected to open before Thanksgiving, according to owners Bryan Smith, Kimberly Mullen and Vince Porter.

Lithia Motors was founded in 1946 by Walt DeBoer as a Chrysler-Plymouth-Dodge dealership in Ashland, Oregon. Following DeBoer’s death in 1968, his son Sidney expanded the business to include five stores and 19 franchises in southern Oregon.

Lithia recently purchased Nissan of Stockton and Kia of Stockton earlier this month, and operates dealerships in Santa Rosa, Redding, Eureka, Fresno and Monterey.

Representatives for both Geweke Auto Group and Toyota were unavailable for comment.

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