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Industry stalwart Frederick ‘Fritz’ Hitchcock, 81, passes

Owner of California dealerships, Hitchcock dedicated himself to serving and promoting the industry throughout his life

Sacramento, Calif.—The California New Car Dealers Association and Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association have announced the passing of Frederick “Fritz” Hitchcock. After suffering a fall, he passed Saturday morning at 81.

Hitchcock began his career in the automotive sector as a management trainee, working his way to becoming a district sales manager, before eventually taking control of his first new car dealership in 1969, starting Hitchcock Automotive Resources in 1971. He remained a fixture, with Toyota dealerships in Puente Hills, Northridge, and Santa Barbara.

He was a former chairman of the California New Car Dealers Association, served on the Greater LA New Car Dealers Association Board of Directors for nearly two decades and as president in 2018 and 2019, co-founded the Automotive Free International Trade Political Action Committee, and is past chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, which renamed its annual Grassroots Leadership Award in his honor.

Additionally, Hitchcock served as president of the State of California’s New Motor Vehicle Board, chairman of the Toyota and Mazda National Dealer Councils, Southern California director of the National Automobile Dealers Association, in which he was a 27-year President’s Club member for its PAC, and served as the chairman of the California Chamber of Commerce in 2013.

“Fritz was always at the intersection between dealerships and politics and was a mentor to me and so many others in being an effective dealer advocate,” said Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association. “He will be sorely missed by us all.”

Hitchcock was also a philanthropist. Through his personal scholarship alone, he provided debt-free college educations for nearly 100 students. In 2012, he was honored with the California Highway Patrol’s Commissioner’s Award for the CHP 11-99 charitable foundation for widows and orphans of those officers killed in the line of duty. He was also an ambassador of the National Automobile Dealer’s Charitable Foundation.

“Fritz was truly one of those irreplaceable people in this world,” said Bob Smith, executive director of the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association. “He did what it would take 20 to do. I was lucky enough to count him as a friend and the absence of his voice, his passion, his humility, and his heart will leave a void that may never truly be occupied.”

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