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The story of Lithia Motors is a success story in the classic sense. Lithia was started in 1946 as a single dealership by Walt DeBoer on The Plaza in Ashland, Oregon. That first year there were five employees who sold 14 vehicles for annual sales of less than $100,000. In September 1968, Walt was killed in a car pedestrian accident and Sid DeBoer (eldest son in a family of six children) assumed control of the small Chrysler-Dodge store. In May 1970, Dick Heimann left his position with Chrysler Corporation to become a partner with Sid. Their special relationship has since turned a single dealership into a very large and successful chain of auto superstores. Today Lithia now operates 35 dealerships in 14 markets located in California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Colorado. The company sells 24 brands of new vehicles through 77 franchises. Lithia also sells used vehicles, arranges finance, warranty, and credit insurance contracts, provides vehicle parts, maintenance, and repair services at all of its locations. Additionally, the company will operate 6 collision repair centers. By the end of 1999 Lithia Motors is expected to have annualized revenues of over $1.2 billion. Lithia Motors is headquartered in Medford Oregon. In December of 1996 Lithia announced its' Initial Public Offering with shares being traded on the NASDAQ national market. As of January 20, 1999, Lithia began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "LAD".