AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest car dealership group, has become a service station dealer.
AutoNation opened a filling station in Highlands Ranch, Colo., a southeastern suburb of Denver, to test demand for discounted gasoline among its Denver-area customers. If the AutoNation Neighborhood Service Station is profitable and helps boost repeat business at the company's car dealerships, AutoNation could acquire more stations.
Discounted gasoline is one of a number of benefits AutoNation offers new- and used-car buyers under a frequent-buyer program called 'Auto Rewards,' a pilot program in Denver. The Auto Rewards program is designed to inspire customer loyalty by providing AutoNation's Denver owner base with discounts on a variety of services, such as maintenance and rental cars.
The goal: Give customers incentives to buy more vehicles and services from the dealerships. Customers 'earn' more benefits when they return for service work and buy other vehicles.
The AutoNation Neighborhood Service Station sells gasoline 7 cents a gallon cheaper to its vehicle owners than to the general public. The gasoline is competitively priced and is branded 'AutoNation,' said Debbie Ball, an AutoNation spokeswoman.
The station, which has 50 employees, also offers a car wash, six service bays and a mini-mart. AutoNation owners receive discounts on the car wash, and they earn credits toward other products and services when they purchase auto service at the station.
The service center sits on a 61,000-square-foot lot at the corner of County Line Road and Holly Street, less than 10 miles from the nearest John Elway AutoNation dealership. AutoNation would not disclose the purchase price for the station, which was acquired in the spring, and says it is too early to discuss sales volume.
The company sent direct mail promoting the station to its more than 40,000 Auto Rewards members in Denver.