Fox Motors Grows Bigger

January 6, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Fox Motor Group has added two more dealerships to its growing automotive line and has reorganized the business into three distinct divisions.

Fox Motors raised the number of dealerships it owns to 14 when the company purchased Stanton Ford last week. And the firm will bump that total up again on March 1, when it takes possession of Kia Towne.

The acquisition of the new dealerships helped lead to the reorganization of the company, as Fox Motors has been restructured into one domestic division and two that feature imports.

“Part of the reason for the restructuring was where we were at. Part of it was the fact that I had all the general managers reporting to me and it got to be too much for me. And part of it was I wanted to bring in more expertise with the domestic products,” said Dan DeVos, president and CEO of DP Fox Ventures, which owns the Fox Motor Group.

Tom Vanderhyde recently joined Fox Motors as director of the company’s new Domestic Division. Vanderhyde oversees the operations of Fox Ford; Fox Pontiac, Buick, GMC; and Stanton Ford.

Matt Thomas directs the Central Imports Division. Thomas, who started at Fox Motors as a salesperson a few years ago, is responsible for the Hyundai, Honda, Mitsubishi, Saab and Kia dealerships. Thomas managed four of those five lines before the reorganization.

DeVos will run the East Imports Division, which includes Delta Imports and East Imports. Fox sells Porsche, Audi and Subaru at Delta, and Mazda, Acura and Nissan at East.

“I’m just keeping my name in that box now and I don’t have any plans to fill it in the near future. I keep my hand in some of the dealerships and have other people running some of the others. So it works out real well,” said DeVos.

DeVos said his company bought Kia Towne at

1515 28th St. SW
from Jeff Baker, whose father sold the firm its Hyundai dealership at 3060 Broadmoor SE five years ago.

“The business fits in with us because Kia is a sister to Hyundai, so it makes a lot of sense. We’ve enjoyed the Hyundai product and we know Kia makes a good product. The purchase allows us to continue to build on that part of our business, which is a strong import line,” said DeVos.

The Hyundai Motor Co. makes the Kia line, and Fox Hyundai is the largest volume seller of the Korean-manufactured cars and sports-utility vehicles in the region.

DeVos said Fox Motors bought Stanton Ford at 848 N. State St. from Vanderhyde, who, with his brother, sold the Pontiac, Buick and GMC dealership on Alpine Avenue NW to the motor group two years ago. Vanderhyde also helped Fox buy two Duthler dealerships last June, which have become Fox Ford and Fox Honda.

“We wanted to create a stronger relationship with Tom and have him give us some more oversight and assistance with our other Ford store. So we started talking about that and he said he’d love to do that,” said DeVos.

But both Vanderhyde and DeVos felt that for Vanderhyde to join Fox Motors he would have to divest his interest in Stanton Ford to avoid a potential conflict of interest issue while running Fox Ford. So Fox bought the Stanton dealership and Vanderhyde agreed to head the company’s domestic division.

“It has worked out well. It was just one of those things that come together because everyone is trying to work together,” said DeVos.

The Stanton dealership is Fox’s first in MontcalmCounty.

The Fox Motor Group officially became the county’s largest auto dealer when it bought the Duthler dealerships last summer, which gave Fox nine locations and 13 product lines. But DeVos said he never imagined that his business would grow so much just six years after he bought Keenan Saab, the company’s first dealership.

“I had no idea then. I knew I wanted to get involved some way and we had been looking for years on how to do that. Then the door opened with Keenan,” said DeVos.

“You take advantage of opportunities when they’re offered to you. But the answer is ‘no,’ I didn’t think that when we purchased Saab we would be where we are today.”    

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