AutoNation, Inc. history, profile and history video
AutoNation, Inc. operates as an automobile dealer. It offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicles, used vehicles, parts and automotive services, and automotive finance and insurance products. The company operates through three segments: Domestic, Import and Premium Luxury. The Domestic segment is comprised of retail automotive franchises that sell new vehicles manufactured by General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler. The Import segment is comprised of retail automotive franchises that sell new vehicles manufactured primarily by Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. The Premium Luxury segment is comprised of retail automotive franchises that sell new vehicles manufactured primarily by Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus. The company sells various core brands vehicles such as Ford, Toyota, Nissan, General Motors, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Chrysler. AutoNation was founded by Steven Richard Berrard and Harry Wayne Huizenga Sr. in 1991 and is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States.
In 1981, Republic Industries was created, specializing in waste disposal. H. Wayne Huizenga became Chairman of the Board in 1995. Republic got into used auto sales with the purchase of Auto Nation USA in 1997, followed by Car Choice Inc. Republic began opening AutoNation used megastores. CarMax brought a lawsuit against Republic for copyright and trademark infringement. Republic’s sales for 1995 were $5.2 billion.
In 1996, Republic began purchasing new car dealerships and offering long-term contracts to owners who joined the automotive division management team. Some dealers began seeking out Republic to sell their dealerships because of the long-term contracts. In 1996, Republic built twelve AutoNation locations.
In 1996, Alamo Rent A Car was acquired.
In 1997, Republic continued acquisitions in the car rental business with the purchase of National Car Rental, Spirit Rent-A-Car, Value Rent-A-Car, Snappy Car Rental, and EuroDollar Rent A Car. Huizenga had Republic start consolidating operations between new and used cars and its rental companies into one operation. Acquiring six Saturn dealerships in Arizona and Florida, Republic sold the dealerships to Saturn in 1997 because they did not generate enough sales despite being a successful brand. Maroone Automotive Group of Buffalo, NY and Florida was acquired in 1997 for $200 million in Republic Stock.
A 2-for-1 split in the company stock was completed in 1996.
In an attempt to expand the company’s electronic security division, the company offered to purchase ADT but the acquisition was called off. In October 1997, Republic sold off its electronic security division after failing to expand it with the attempted purchase of ADT.
Republic Industries offered in July 1998 an IPO of its original core waste disposal business as Republic Services. From this sale of 36% of Republic Services, Republic Industries netted $1.4 billion. While CarMax had received a $50 million jury award in its lawsuit, it was overturned during an appeal in 1998. Drivers’ Mart, a competitor, was purchased.
The remaining 64% of Republic Services were spun off to Republic Industries shareholders in 1999. The company’s first Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was Steve Berrard, who resigned from the company in July 1999. Mike Jackson, CEO, moved to spin off the car rental business as ANC Rental. AutoNation USA used-car megastores, which lost $25 million the quarter before, were all closed down. Plans to brand all auto dealers as AutoNation are scrapped and a regional brand focus is instituted.
In January 2003, Jackson is named chairman of the board replacing Huizenga. On October 24, 2005, the AutoNation building in downtown Fort Lauderdale suffered significant damage due to Hurricane Wilma. The company has since transferred to another nearby building.
In Feb 2006, AutoNation Inc announced to restate its cash flow statements for two years, in response to discussions with the staff of SEC. The previously issued consolidated financial statements for 2003 and 2004 should no longer be relied upon.
In 2006, Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation announced that his company would be reducing orders from General Motors, Ford and Chrysler in 2007. Jackson made the statement that the company will instead focus on selling BMW, Mercedes and Lexus vehicles due to anticipation of further market share loss by US automakers resulting in high dealer inventories.
In 2009, AutoNation announced the AutoNation Payment Protection program, promising that the dealership will buy back any car at market value, should the owner lose their job.
In 2011, AutoNation was the first auto retailer in the U.S. to sell a total of 8 Million vehicles.
In January 2013, AutoNation announced that it would completely replace localized brand names of its car retail operations with its own name, starting with car retail stores that are identified with the “Maroone” name in Florida. This re-branding across the United States was supported and approved by the major automotive manufacturers, including GM, Ford, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Honda, VW and Hyundai. It involved a total of 210 franchises operating under previously assigned local group names.
In May 2013, AutoNation partnered with “IndyCar” Series Champion Ryan Hunter-Reay to support his “Racing for Cancer” charity. This charity serves as a key component of the AutoNation charity program. The charity was founded as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization following the 2009 passing of the founders mother due to colon cancer.
In August 2013, AutoNation announced the sale of its 9 Millionth vehicle. A record achievement for the industry.
*Information from Forbes.com and Autonation.com
**Video published on YouTube by “AutoNation“