HOUSTON -- Group 1 Automotive Inc. is considering rebranding many of its 139 stores with the Group 1 name -- but not anytime soon.
"We've thought about it a lot," CEO Earl Hesterberg told Automotive News. "But we're certainly nowhere near doing that."
That's because Group 1 has a lot of value in some dealership brand names in major markets, he says.
"Maybe in an ideal world, I'd like to" rebrand, Hesterberg says. "But the Sterling McCall brand name is so powerful in Houston."
Group 1's brand name in Oklahoma is Bob Howard. In the Boston area it is Ira. Both are "pretty powerful" brands, Hesterberg says.
He says AutoNation Inc.'s decision this year to put the AutoNation moniker on most of its 226 stores triggered Group 1's discussion about doing the same with its name.
"The advantage is most likely and clearly to me on a URL, having one Web site just like they do with Carmax.com," he says. But Group 1 does not have "anywhere near a nationwide footprint" to make branding work yet.