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AutoNation, Inc. Debuts 'The AutoNation USA Network'

Oct. 06, 1999

Company's New Vehicle Dealerships Will Sub-Brand
With the AutoNation USA Name

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN), America's largest automotive retailer, today announced that it has launched the largest branding initiative in automotive retailing history, by sub- branding its more than 340 new vehicle franchises nationwide with the AutoNation USA name.

As part of the campaign, AutoNation USA dealers will use common templates and themes in newspaper, television and radio advertisements beginning this month. The print ads will feature the distinctive green AutoNation USA brand logo, along with the name of the local dealer and the manufacturer brands that the dealer sells. The ads will also identify the dealers as being part of the "AutoNation USA Network." Television and radio commercials will feature common theme music.

The branding campaign will highlight a range of uniform sales and service promises that AutoNation USA dealers will offer. Many of these brand promises were pioneered at the Company's AutoNation USA used vehicle megastores and at the Company's 17 AutoNation USA dealerships in Denver, Colorado. These customer promises aim to provide a risk-free and hassle-free vehicle buying and ownership experience, as well as a more convenient and affordable vehicle service experience.

Uniform sales promises include a 3-day, money-back guarantee on all used vehicles and a free 99-day/3,300-mile warranty on the purchase of quality- certified used vehicles. Service promises include "Fast or Free" maintenance service, "everyday" low-price guarantees and 12-month/12,000-mile warranties on service work. Plus, consumers will be able to access the Company's inventory of more than 100,000 new and used vehicles either through sales representatives at the Company's stores or through its web site, AutoNationDirect.com, the Internet's largest virtual dealership.

"The launch of the AutoNation USA Network is a giant step toward establishing the first truly national automotive retail brand," said Michael E. Maroone, AutoNation's President and Chief Operating Officer. "AutoNation USA dealers offer every major vehicle make and model, and an e-Commerce operation that now leads all others in direct sales to consumers. The AutoNation USA Network will be where consumers go for a superior automotive buying and ownership experience."

Prior to the Network's launch, most of the Company's franchised automotive dealerships operated under the names they had when AutoNation acquired them -- names such as "Mullinax Ford" in South Florida and "Lou Grubb Chevrolet" in Arizona. These dealerships, and many others, make up a network of more than 400 new vehicle franchises and enjoy strong local and/or regional recognition, along with the manufacturer brands they represent.

These dealers currently spend $230 million collectively on print, radio and television advertising, each year. The Network launch leverages this advertising investment by aligning these great dealership names with a common master brand.

"We anticipate that this common approach to marketing will yield significant efficiencies and cost savings, something only a 23-state network of stores can really achieve on a large scale," Mr. Maroone said. "We have acquired many of the best automotive retail dealerships and we've built what we believe is the industry's best retailing network. It's time to leverage all of that so we can begin offering consumers a superior buying and ownership experience."

    AutoNation USA Network Promises
    The AutoNation USA Network's sales promises include:
    --  Quality certified used vehicles
    --  3-day money back guarantees on all used vehicles (Quality Certified
and Special Value)
    --  99-day warranties on Quality Certified used vehicles
    --  Access to an inventory of more than 100,000 vehicles

    The AutoNation USA Network's service promises include:
    --  Everyday, low pricing on 13 common service items
    --  "Fast or Free" guarantees on those same items
    --  Price match guarantees on "Fast or Free" items
    --  12-month/12,000-mile warranties on service work
    --  Convenient hours, including Saturday hours at many locations

"Low, no-haggle pricing," a sales philosophy that AutoNation USA has championed at its megastores and at its Denver dealerships, will be offered initially in two yet-to-be-announced Network markets this fall. Other AutoNation USA markets will join these markets in offering low, no-haggle prices at a later date. The AutoNation USA Network does not include certain high-end luxury franchises, such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

AutoNation, Inc. is the world's largest automotive retailer with more than 400 new vehicle franchises in 20 states and 42 AutoNation USA used vehicle megastores in 13 states. A Fortune 100 company, AutoNation, led by its AutoNationDirect.com web site, is also the Internet's largest retailer of new and used vehicles. The Company's vehicle rental businesses include Alamo Rent- A-Car, Inc., National Car Rental System, Inc. and CarTemps USA, which collectively have operations nationwide and in more than 65 countries. The Company has announced plans to spin off those rental businesses next year in a tax-free share distribution to AutoNation shareholders.

SOURCE AutoNation, Inc.
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