AutoNation Inc. will start selling self-branded service contracts in 50 Texas stores this month, in a move that begins the retailer's nationwide launch of private-label finance and insurance products.
AutoNation plans to brand all protection products sold in its dealerships under the AutoNation name by year end. It plans to begin selling those products online in 2016, after an online pilot to be conducted this year.
Private-label products are another way to add substance to the retailer's branding initiative, CEO Mike Jackson said. That initiative began in early 2013 with most of the company's dealerships assuming the AutoNation name in place of regional brand names.
"By extending the brand AutoNation to mean something, you have to take it to more than just a name on the store," Jackson said. "Every time I sell an AutoNation product that delights a customer, like a service contract, that further binds the customer to us in another new way, rather than handing them off to a warranty company."
Before this month's move, AutoNation, the country's largest new-vehicle retailer, sold 18 extended service plans across the company. AutoNation executives say the company took the best elements from all 18 to create one plan that offers what it bills as "best-in-class coverage." The AutoNation plan is provided and administered by the Warranty Group, a service contract provider in Chicago.