David Fischer Jr., the president and chief operating officer of the Suburban Collection, stands with Ron MacEachern, the general manager at the Suburban Collection, in one of the 17 showrooms in Troy Nov. 26.

David Fischer Jr., the president and chief operating officer of the Suburban Collection, stands with Ron MacEachern, the general manager at the Suburban Collection, in one of the 17 showrooms in Troy Nov. 26.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Suburban Collection discusses 70 years of vehicle sales

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 28, 2018

 Suburban Motors opened its doors on Maple Road in Birmingham in 1948.

Suburban Motors opened its doors on Maple Road in Birmingham in 1948.

Photo provided by the Suburban Collection

TROY — In 1948, the average cost of a new car was $1,250, a gallon of gas cost 16 cents, and the average yearly wage was $2,950.

The top-selling vehicle at Suburban Motors — which first opened its doors in Birmingham, on East Maple Road, near Woodward Avenue, in November 1948 — was the Olds Cutlass.

Brands were added every year, and the dealership moved to the Troy Motor Mall in 1973.

“There were space constraints in Birmingham,” said David Fischer Jr., president and chief operating officer of the Suburban Collection. “Troy had land and space.”

“Maplelawn Drive has been a well-known and established road in Troy for all things related to automobile sales for several years,” Ara Topouzian, president and CEO of the Troy Chamber of Commerce, said via email. “Suburban has helped shape this image over its decades of sales and service in the city, playing an integral part in the business community.”

Fischer Jr. said the biggest change over the years has been the growth from one dealership to what it is today — offering 36 brands at 51 locations with 3,000 team members and selling 60,000 vehicles, on average, each year. Nine hundred employees and 17 facilities are based in Troy. His father, David Fischer, serves as the chairman and CEO of the Suburban Collection.

“There’s more synergy, having them (dealerships) in groups,” Fischer Jr. said.

He noted how buying habits have changed with the advent of technology.

“Buyers used to visit four or five dealerships to make a decision. Now they go online (first) and visit one or two dealerships,” he said.

In 2000, at age 30, Fischer Jr. came on board with the business his grandfather, Richard, had founded. Before that, Fischer Jr. did stints in technical sales and as a management consultant for two different companies.

Fischer Jr. said he’s also seen the dress code, while still professional, soften.

“We still have a number of people who wear a suit and tie,” he said.

Two things, however, have stayed the same: the philosophy of taking care of customers and taking care of team members, he said.