AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest dealership group, plans to expand its service business by year end, adding 400 technicians and increasing its express service operations to 180 stores from 80 now.
The company also wants to boost maintenance work on newer vehicles.
"The younger vehicles, those 0 to 5 years old, will grow by 9 percent in the market this year," says Alan McLaren, AutoNation's senior vice president of customer care. "That's really important to us because more than 50 percent of our [service] business comes from that group of customers."
Customer care is AutoNation's term for its service, parts and collision operations.
AutoNation COO Mike Maroone says: "We've got to make sure we have capacity in terms of people."
AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has 16 full-time recruiters across the country devoted to finding and hiring service technicians.