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Apr 12, 2011-- The Adventure Cars dealership will soon be selling Mazdas.

Joe Kirby's Adventure cars took on a new nameplate Wednesday with his purchase of the Mitsubishi automotive line in Chattanooga from the Kelly Auto Group.

Sales and service for Mitsubishi in Chattanooga is moving into the Kirby's Adventure Mazda facility on West M.L. King Boulevard, just over the hill from its former location at Tim Kelly's dealership at Riverfront Parkway and M.L. King.

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Joe Kirby directs his staff in parking over 100 acquired Prebul vehicles in this file photo.
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Tim Kelly

"The Mazda brand gives us another important choice for our customers and will be a great addition to the Chattanooga dealership," said Kirby, the second-generation auto dealer who took over the business of his father, Edd Kirby, when the elder Kirby died in 1999. "Mazda and Mitsubishi complement each other very well, and we look forward to serving the existing Mitsubishi customers in the area, as well as offering the full line of Mitsubishi's affordable and reliable products to the public."

Kelly said selling Mitsubishi will allow him to focus his entire facility on Riverfront Parkway and ML. King Boulevard on Subaru products and services.

"Subaru has been growing in leaps and bounds, and we were frankly just out of room," Kelly said. "We will be undergoing a remodeling project soon to convert our facility to a dedicated, single­point Subaru facility, so this move became necessary for us. I'm just really glad things worked out with Joe, because this will mean minimal inconvenience for Mitsubishi customers, and I feel great knowing Joe Kirby will take care of them."

Kelly acquired the Mitsubishi line in Chattanooga in 2007 from former dealer Grant Law. The move will leave Kelly with a single new car line for the first time since in his family's car dealership expanded beyond the original Cadillac line in the 1930s. Kelly has previously sold or ceased selling Cadillac, Saab, Hummer, GMC and Infiniti, but Kelly said he is glad to concentrate on the growing Subaru brand.

"It's all we can say grace over and this will allow us to grow the brand and stay downtown with a remodeled facility," Kelly said.

Kelly also operates the Powersports, a motorcycle business, and is CEO of ZipFlip, an Internet buying site for peer-to-peer car sales.

Kirby, whose father entered the car business in 1953 along with the late Herb Adcox, operates a Chrysler and General Motors dealership in Dalton, Ga. Kirby opened his Adventure Cars as a used car lot on the site of the former Lawrence Doster Lincoln-Mercury dealership in 2010 and added the Mazda new car line a year later.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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