Mega-dealer Lithia Motors Inc. acquires its third Montana dealership in a year, Power Chevrolet, with annual sales of about $40 million in the state capital of Helena, pop. 28,000. The store's new name will be Lithia Chevrolet of Helena.

The purchase is part of Lithia's self-described “aggressive acquisition strategy.”

Lithia first entered the Montana market last April with the purchase of what's now the Lithia Auto Center of Missoula selling Chrysler, Dodge and Lincoln Mercury brands.

In June, the Medford, OR-based dealership chain acquired a store it renamed Lithia Dodge of Billings.

Lithia Chairman and CEO Sid DeBoer says, “Lithia now generates approximately $100 million in annualized revenues in the state of Montana, giving us a good base for future growth.”

A public company since 1996, Lithia sold 95,000 new and used cars last year at 80 stores in 12 Western states.

It began in 1946 as a single dealership.