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16th of October 2018

Automotive



Lithia pours $54 million into used-car startup

Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said the Shift investment fits into the company's strategy to support innovative companies with high earning potential.

Lithia Motors Inc. is investing $54 million into online used-car buying startup Shift Technologies Inc.

The money will help Shift expand technologically and geographically. It is part of a $140 million round of investment announced by Shift on Thursday. With the outlay, Lithia, the nation's fourth-largest dealership group, will become Shift's largest shareholder and will get a seat on the company's board of directors.

Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer told Automotive News that the Shift investment fits into the company's ongoing strategy to support innovative companies with high earning potential. The two companies will launch a strategic partnership.

"Our basic strategy is to offer multiple channels for our consumers to be able to shop wherever, whenever and however they desire," DeBoer said. "This Shift investment helps formalize some of that thought process."

As part of the partnership, Shift aims to leverage the Medford, Ore., dealership group's physical infrastructure to supplement Shift's storage facilities.

"We'll continue to expand Shift's footprint. We'll expand into Lithia's footprint and into a brand-new space where neither Lithia nor Shift exist," Shift Co-CEO Toby Russell told Automotive News.

DeBoer sees potential in Shift's success with used-vehicle sales.

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