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AutoNation To Strengthen Brand Identity By Linking National E-Brand With Regional Market Brands

Jul. 13, 2000

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 13 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN) today launches a two-part branding initiative that will more closely link its AutoNation.com national e-brand with strong regional market brands in each of its 10 retail districts, comprising more than 400 franchised automotive dealerships. The plan calls for converting the multiple dealership names that AutoNation uses in its districts into powerful market brands in each district. Tying these elements together is a new graphic identity for the AutoNation brand: the "Wayfinder" logo.

(Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000713/FLTH002)

The branding initiative kicks off today in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties), where 30 of the Company's dealerships will adopt the Maroone name, forming the largest branded automotive retail group in the country. Other districts will adopt the market brand strategy later this year and into next.

"This branding initiative, supported by an innovative advertising campaign, leverages AutoNation's scale, both on and off the Internet," says AutoNation Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Jackson. Mr. Jackson adds, "The strategy moves AutoNation from a fractured brand identity comprising dozens of different market brands, to a single Internet brand that blends seamlessly with a handful of strong market brands. This initiative, which is fully embraced by our key manufacturer partners, will help AutoNation establish its brand identity much more quickly than would otherwise have been possible."

The branding effort is supported by a new advertising campaign, developed by Zimmerman & Partners, Fort Lauderdale, that uses offbeat humor to highlight for consumers the fact that AutoNation is the place to buy a car. The advertising employs creative concepts that will ultimately be used in all of the Company's retail districts. The campaign breaks initially in South Florida, where the annual market budget of $35 million will now be invested to grow the single Maroone brand, rather than a collection of separate retail brands. The advertising message supports both AutoNation's national e-brand (AutoNation.com), as well as its market brands.

In "Car Wash," one of seven commercials scheduled to air, a cocky young man becomes a helpless onlooker as his beloved sports car meets a tragic end in an encounter with a car wash robot. In another, called "Get Closer," a father and son pair head to the Monster Truck rally where Dad's attempt to find the best parking spot puts the pair a little too close to the action.

A common thread in the commercials, as well as in the Company's print advertising and all in-store materials, is AutoNation's new logo, called the "Wayfinder." The Wayfinder, developed by Interbrand, a New York-based brand identity consultant, is a stylized white arrowhead within a yellow circle. The Wayfinder evokes a computer cursor key and suggests that AutoNation can help "guide" customers in their automotive shopping experience. The Wayfinder symbol, including its yellow and black color scheme, replaces the existing AutoNation logo, which is modeled after the green signs typically found on interstate highways.

Commenting on the branding strategy, AutoNation's President and Chief Operating Officer, Michael E. Maroone, said, "I'm very proud and humbled to have my family name placed on AutoNation's dealerships in South Florida. Under the Maroone name, we'll be carrying on the great reputations of all the dealerships that now comprise the Maroone network in South Florida. AutoNation's strategy of strong market brands and a national e-brand responds to consumer demand for greater selection and great prices, on and off the Internet."

AutoNation dealerships changing their names in South Florida include:

Previous Name Current Location New Name
Abraham Chevrolet Miami Maroone Chevrolet
AutoNation Nissan Perrine Maroone Nissan
Central Hyundai/Kia Miami Maroone Hyundai, Maroone Kia
Fort Lauderdale Nissan Fort Lauderdale Maroone Nissan
Hollywood Honda Hollywood Maroone Honda
L.P. Evans Nissan Miami Maroone Nissan
Miami Honda Miami Maroone Honda
Mullinax Ford Margate Maroone Ford
Phil Smith Toyota Fort Lauderdale Maroone Toyota
Steve Moore Chevrolet Greenacres Maroone Chevrolet
Sunshine Ford Miami Maroone Ford
Wallace Dodge Delray Beach Maroone Dodge
Wallace Ford Delray Beach Maroone Ford
Wallace Lincoln-Mercury  Lake Park Maroone Lincoln-Mercury
Wallace Nissan  Delray Beach Maroone Nissan

The other nine dealerships already bearing the Maroone brand name are Maroone Chevrolet, Maroone Nissan, Maroone Oldsmobile/Isuzu, Maroone Chevrolet of West Dade, Maroone Dodge of Miami, Maroone Dodge of Pompano, Maroone Ford of Fort Lauderdale, Maroone Chevrolet of Fort Lauderdale and Maroone Chrysler- Jeep.

AutoNation, Inc., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is America's largest automotive retailer, on and off the web. The company was ranked #63 on the Fortune 500 in the year 2000. More information is available at www.autonation.com. SOURCE AutoNation, Inc.

CONTACT: Jim Donahue, AutoNation, Inc., 954-769-7208, or donahuej@autonation.com/

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