Longview-based Clary Auto Group expands to Auburn

Longview-based Clary Auto Group has purchased two additional car dealerships in Auburn, expanding the corporation’s reach into a major metropolitan market for the first time in its 56-year history.

Although Bud Clary started in Longview, the corporation has multiple locations in Yakima and Moses Lake. Co-owner Bryce Clary said he and his partners eyed expansion ever since purchasing Moses Lake Ford and Honda dealerships in 2012, but they were waiting for the right opportunity.

On Dec. 1, the Clarys took over two Auburn dealerships — one sells Chevrolet, Dodge and Jeep and the other sells Hyundai — after former owner Tom Matson retired from the Puget Sound-area dealerships.

“We’ve always been in smaller communities. Now this a good opportunity to be a bigger community,” said Clary, 35. He expects the Auburn location to rake in the highest-grossing sales among the company’s 12 locations.

Clary said he appreciates the small-town approach to building relationships with customers and hopes to carry that over into the Auburn market.

“That’s worked for us in our other cities,” Clary said. “We’re still going to provide great service, just on a larger scale.”

The two facilities are smaller in acreage than the Longview dealerships. Other than minor remodeling, Clary said, the Auburn dealerships are in “fantastic” shape.

The Auburn dealerships have 85 employees, bringing the total number of employees that work for Clary Auto Group to 420 across the state, including 120 in Longview.

Clary said expanding the businesses in other cities has enabled him to hire an additional five to 10 employees in Longview over the last year as administration needs have grown.

He declined to disclose the cost of the purchase.