Business

Lexus, Infiniti dealers to move

Auto dealerships are shuffling spaces on the north end of McHenry Avenue in Modesto.

The owners of Valley Lexus plan to move to a site at McHenry and Kiernan avenues by mid-April, while Modesto Infiniti's owners have put up signs that herald a new dealership for them, also in that area.

Steve Byerly, Valley Lexus sales manager, said Lexus' new dealership will be 24,000 square feet, three times the size of the current location on McHenry.

"It's going to be a state-of-the-art facility," Byerly said. He added that the new location will have separate sales and service areas, a mechanized car wash and an expanded used-vehicle sales area.

Lexus will sell other high-end used vehicles such as BMWs at the site, which will be on the southwest corner of McHenry and Kiernan, Byerly said.

Work on the new dealership has gone quickly enough that the owners moved up the timeline from the original goal of late April, Byerly said.

There's a longer timeline for Modesto Infiniti, which is planned for Claratina and McHenry avenues in mid-2009.

Andrew Hemphill, Infiniti's sales manager, said he'd like to open sooner, but that depends on how soon Modesto city planners approve the move.

"There will be better access and more inventory," he said of the new dealership, which will be about 18,000 square feet. Infiniti now is on Auto Center Court.

When it opens, Infiniti will have CarMax, a big-box store for used vehicles, as a neighbor.

CarMax, which will be a 43,000-square-foot building on 9.6 acres, is set to open April 4 on the northeast corner of Claratina and McHenry.

Central Valley Automotive owns the Infiniti dealership, and bought it from Valley Lexus owner Ed Fitzpatrick in 2006.

Central Valley also owns a Chrysler, Jeep and Volkswagen dealership and has a Nissan lot in Modesto.

Fitzpatrick owns Valley BMW and a Lexus dealership in Oakland.

Bee staff writer Ben van der Meer can be reached at bvandermeer@modbee.com or 578-2331.

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