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AutoNation Embarks on Major Brand Expansion

Dealer chain will add used car-only shops, parts business, push online car sales and more.

by on Oct.28, 2016

AutoNation plans to invest $500 million in a brand expansion that will see it challenge used car leader CarMax.

It may already be the nation’s largest new car dealer chain, but Florida-based AutoNation is setting out on a major brand expansion that will see it challenge used car specialist CarMax, start selling its own line of automotive parts and accessories and push further into online car shopping.

The project is expected to cost AutoNation about $500 million and take several years to put in place. But it could firm up the publicly traded dealer network’s grip at a time when many industry experts forecast dramatic changes to come in the automotive world. Whether the project is enough remains to be seen, as some experts believe car sales could decline during the coming decade in favor of new car- and ride-sharing alternatives, such as Car2Go and Uber.

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AutoNation was at the forefront of an earlier transition, as thousands of traditional ma-and-pa dealerships were taken over by mega-chains. “Now we’re ready to see how we can extend this brand we created to new business opportunities,” said AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson. (more…)