Starting Wednesday, October 24th, 2012, Missoula will have a new Toyota dealer. Lithia Toyota will be located right next to Bitterroot Motors on Brooks in Missoula.

Bitterroot Motors opened the Toyota dealership in 1973, when it was known simply as Bitterroot Toyota. The Ogren family added the Ford dealership in 1981, when they officially changed their name to Bitterroot Motors.

According to the Bitterroot Motors website, Erik Ogren passed away in an automobile accident  in 1984 at the age of 39. His wife, Kathy, assumed the presidency of the company, and continues to run the business today.

Lithia Toyota General Manager Jeremy Nelson said Ms. Ogren sold Lithia the land that has been the Toyota showroom, so the two dealerships will exist side by side.

Nelson says some of the sales staff who specialize in Toyota, along with some of the service personnel have come over to the new dealership.He says Lithia plans to demolish the old building and build a new showroom and service center sometime in the next year.

Nelson says the new Toyota dealership is closed today, Tuesday, but will be officially open for business on Wednesday.

Lithia Toyota General Manager Jeremy Nelson