With $140 million to spend, AutoNation Inc. plans another big year of building projects in 2011.
Executives of the nation's largest auto retailer say the $140 million budgeted for capital projects this year is just short of the $150 million spent in 2010. AutoNation will spend on all three segments of its business: domestic-brand, import and luxury dealerships, COO Michael Maroone said.
"It's really spread out over the full year," Maroone said in a conference call discussing AutoNation's 2010 earnings. "There's a lot of big projects, both Fiat stores, import stores, domestic stores. It goes right across the board."
AutoNation will open four Fiat stores this year. The retailer was awarded seven franchises. Two more are to open at the beginning of 2012 with the final store coming later next year.
For 2011, 16 major facility projects are planned across the company. Six are new stores that fulfill additional points awarded by manufacturers, Maroone said. The remaining 10 are significant renovations or greenfield sites for existing stores.
In addition to Fiat, the brands on tap for facility work this year include Mercedes, Toyota, Ford, General Motors, BMW and Mini, he said.
Said Maroone: "What it really says is that we really believe in this business, and we continue to invest aggressively and we hope invest in the right spots."