Republic Industries Inc. has changed its name to AutoNation Inc. to emphasize and expand on its AutoNation automotive brand.
The name change, announced Tuesday, April 6, completes the three-year metamorphosis of H. Wayne Huizenga's publicly traded company from a waste services provider to an au-tomotive retailer.
'This is all part of our rapid and continuing development as a national retailer and marketer,' said Steven Berrard, co-CEO of AutoNation Inc., in a statement.
Huizenga, the billionaire entrepreneur, is co-CEO and chairman of the company.
AutoNation Inc., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., plans to work with automakers to add the label 'An AutoNation Company' to its 260 new-car dealerships. AutoNation's three rental companies - National Car Rental Systems Inc., Alamo Rent-A-Car Inc. and CarTemps USA - also will adopt the sub-brand.
The company already operates 45 used-car superstores under the AutoNation USA name.
Huizenga established AutoNation in late 1995 as the name of his used-car superstore chain. In April 1996, Huizenga introduced the chain to Wall Street by merging it into Republic, his publicly traded waste services company. By December of that year, Republic was acquiring new-car dealerships.
Last year, Republic spun off its waste business as Republic Services Inc. It will sell its remaining interest in Republic Services in a public stock offering during its upcoming second quarter.
Company officials want to make AutoNation a national brand. Consequently, Republic named brand manager John Costello, the former head of marketing at Sears, Roebuck & Co., as its president in December. The company also is using the AutoNation brand name at its 18 'John Elway' new-car dealerships in the Denver area, although AutoNation does not appear on the dealerships' outdoor signs.
AutoNation Inc. has renamed its two operating groups. The AutoNation Retail Group will oversee the company's used-car superstores and franchised new-car dealerships. The AutoNation Rental Group will oversee the three automotive rental brands.
The company now trades under a new stock symbol, 'AN,' on the New York Stock Exchange. Its former symbol was RII.