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i.g. Burton expands with Dover Toyota dealership

Katie Tabeling
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The i.g. Burton Auto Group continues to expand its operations by acquiring C.F. Schwartz Toyota on U.S. Route 13 last month, making it the second addition to the growing automotive group in seven months.

Bob Schwartz, left, Linda Schwartz, M.J. Lofland and Charlie Burton celebrate a done deal with the transfer of the C.F. Schwartz Toyota in Dover. | PHOTO COURTESY OF I.G. BURTON

DOVER —  The i.g. Burton Auto Group continues to expand its operations by acquiring C.F. Schwartz Toyota on U.S. Route 13 last month, making it the second addition to the growing automotive group in seven months.

The Toyota dealership was bought by i.g. Burton Auto Group on March 12 for $14.3 million, according to county property records. The deal marks the Milford-based dealership’s first Toyota dealership.

“I couldn’t pass it up, Toyota’s are extremely hot. The cars have a strong track record and they’re built well, and people love them,” said Charlie Burton, the owner and president of i.g. Burton Auto Group told the Delaware Business Times.

The i.g. Burton Auto Group has 13 locations in Maryland and Delaware and is now on its fifth generation of family ownership. Its original dealership first opened in 1908 in Millsboro and later moved to Milford; the company has expanded across the region ever since. The company became a Chevrolet dealership in 1933 and it now has cars on the lots in Lewes, Smyrna, Seaford as well as Berlin, Md. 

In the last two years, the i.g. Burton Auto Group bought the Newark Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership and the Subaru and Buick GMC in the Baltimore region. 

Burton said that when he closed the deal for the Subaru dealership in October 2023, his team wasn’t looking to expand more. But then Bob Schwartz, who ran the Dover Toyota dealership his father started, was looking to retire.

“The Dover market is something we’ve always looked into, because it’s so great. There’s many people living there, especially with the air force base,” Burton said. “There’s a strong sales value there. Before all the growth in Milford, it was the big city to us. It’s going to bring a lot of synergy to our dealerships in Smyrna and Milford.”

The Dover Toyota dealership should add roughly 25 employees into the i. g. Burton Auto Group, bringing its headcount to 400 people. With the Toyota acquisition, the company now has 12,000 new and pre-owned cars in 13 car franchises.

Burton, who started his career in the automotive finance and insurance business before reluctantly joining the business his brother and father led, told DBT he’s less focused on growth and more focused on running a good business.

“I’m not in the car business, I’m in the employment business,” he said. “In my first job, I traveled a lot and I saw a lot of nice guys not treated well by the market leaders. I like to keep that in mind and offer training opportunities for our associates because I have good people who work and run our dealerships for us.”

Illustrating that point, Burton credits M.J. Lofland, the auto group’s vice president and chief operating officer, for the recent success. Lofland first started as an entry-level employee and now, 20 years later, he co-owns the business.

“He’s been a significant catalyst for our growth,” Burton said. “He’s a great car guy and a real gentleman. He’s grown i.g. Burton into what the group is today.”

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