Our historyThe Beginning
Walt DeBoer started Lithia in 1946 as a single store on "The Plaza" in Ashland, Oregon. In its first year, Lithia had five employees who sold 14 vehicles. Following Walt's death in 1968, Sid DeBoer (eldest son in a family of six children) reorganized and took control of the small Chrysler-Dodge store.
A Strong Partnership
In 1970, Sid purchased the Dodge Center in Medford, shifting operations from Ashland, to the largest market in the area. Dick Heimann, then with the Chrysler Corporation, had formed a strong working relationship with Sid. As a result, Sid convinced Dick Heimann to leave his position with Chrysler and join him in running the Medford store. Since then Lithia has grown from a single store into a successful group of franchised auto-retail stores.
The Core Southern Oregon Stores
From 1970 to 1990 Lithia experienced substantial growth to a total of 5 stores and 19 franchises in the Southern Oregon area. It is in these stores that the "Lithia" operating model was developed. They are known as the original stores and represent the base for future growth and the model for new operations.
Lithia is one of America’s largest automotive retailers featuring most domestic and import franchises. Our stores serve urban and rural populations throughout the Western and Midwest United States.
We are focused on providing customers with an honest and simpler buying and service experience. We are giving customers straightforward information so that they can make confident decisions.
We believe that our local communities are our lifeblood. In addition to the employment opportunities we provide in each of our neighborhoods, we also provide contributions to charitable organizations that serve our families, friends, and customers.
The name "Lithia" originated from water that was discovered south of the city of Ashland, Oregon at the turn of the century. This water contained a large amount of the mineral, Lithium. The well was dubbed "Lithia Springs". The water was piped into town and the word "Lithia’ was adopted by the city fathers and bestowed upon Lithia Park, Lithia Plaza, and Lithia Way. Many businesses in Southern Oregon have also used the name.