GRAND RAPIDS — The Fox Motors Group has expanded, again.
The company, a division of DP Fox Ventures LLC, opened Delta Imports at 6025 28th St. SE earlier this month and had a grand opening celebration Tuesday when Fox officially unveiled the new home for its Audi, Porsche and Subaru vehicles.
Fox Motors moved the three lines from East Imports into the new multi-million-dollar facility that has 35,000 square feet of space. The upscale showroom has 10,000 square feet, while the service area is twice that size. Offices account for the remaining 5,000 square feet.
Dan DeVos, co-owner of DP Fox Ventures with his wife, Pamella, said there were two reasons the firm built Delta Imports. One was to give its line of Nissan products its own dealership.
“That was the second reason. The main reason was Audi and Porsche did not have the proper exposure in our other facility and we needed a place to showcase those products,” he said.
Nissan will be housed at East Nissan and East Imports will continue as home to the Acura and Mazda brands. Both are at 4430 28th St. SE. Construction recently got underway on East Nissan.
DP Fox Executive Vice President David Green told the Business Journal that it isn’t difficult to market multiple lines under one roof. He said the showroom and service bays have been sectioned off at Delta Imports, so the Audis, Porsches and Subarus have their distinct areas. Besides, a similar type of car buyer finds all three appealing.
“There is obviously a different customer, but there is a lot of crossover,” said Green.
DeVos noted that things have gone pretty smoothly since the dealership opened three weeks ago and added that customers have been pleased with the look of Delta Imports.
“The location seems to fit our customer base, also,” he said.
The fact that customers like the design of the dealership is important to DeVos because all three manufacturers had input into what materials would be used and how it would look. And each had different requirements regarding how its line of vehicles would be represented and displayed in the dealership.
“It’s a tough balancing act. Each manufacturer has its own look and each manufacturer virtually wants, in most cases, a standalone store that looks a certain way and does a certain thing. But they also understand the business side of it, that it doesn’t make practical sense, and so they have to team up with other franchises,” said DeVos.
“The trick was to incorporate their look into our specific situation as much as we possibly could. It’s a little give and take where we’ll use this type of material here and that type there. The front is where you get the differentiation; that’s really their look,” he added.
Steven Fry of Concept Design Group designed the building and Wolverine Construction Management served as the facility’s general contractor.
“Every manufacturer literally has a specific tile, a specific countertop, and one actually had a specific coffeemaker they wanted us to use. So we had to blend all of these things together to keep everyone happy,” said Green.
The Delta Imports grand opening will have a special guest, a Porsche Carrera GT that is worth $450,000.
DeVos said auto sales in West Michigan have been slow this year, but the Fox Motors lineup has held its own in 2004. Fox Hyundai is again the company’s volume leader.
“It’s been a good product year for all our car lines,” he said.
Fox Motors got its start in 1999 when the company purchased Keenan Saab. Just five years later, the firm has 11 more lines including Buick, Isuzu, Mitsubishi and Pontiac.