A year ago, AutoNation announced it would acquire mobile auto repair and maintenance provider RepairSmith in a $190 million deal.

Now it’s rebranding that operation to become AutoNation Mobile Service.

In a news release, Dave Koehler, who is chief operating officer for non-franchised business at AutoNation, said the acquisition “marked a pivotal step to extend our after-sales business while attracting new customers and tailoring service options” for AutoNation’s customers.

With the rebranding, he said, “our customers will recognize a name they trust and our mobile service fleet will bring the continuation of our best practices within our stores — transparency and a steadfast commitment to delivering a great customer experience — to their front door.”

AutoNation Mobile Service includes up-front service pricing, a 12-month/12,000-mile repair guarantee and a multi-point inspection. In addition to individual vehicles, it caters to fleet operators, car rental agencies and dealership partners.

“Convenience is at the heart of our actions,” AutoNation CEO Mike Manley said. “AutoNation Mobile Service is our way of extending service accessibility to our loyal customer base while welcoming owners who purchased vehicles outside our dealer network. AutoNation Mobile Service’s unique offerings align with our dedication to customer convenience and commitment to growing our after-sales business.”

Ed Morse Automotive makes milestone acquisition

The Ed Morse Automotive Group has closed a milestone deal.

The Florida-based dealer group has acquired Thomas Motors in Moberly, Mo., which will be renamed Ed Morse Chevrolet Buick GMC. It’s the group’s ninth dealership in Missouri.

But that’s not the milestone.

The big one is that the new acquisition is Ed Morse Automotive’s 100th franchise.

The group, founded in 1946, now has 79 automotive franchises, 19 motorcycle franchises and two recreational vehicle franchises. The new dealership added some 20 employees to the more than 2,500 already working for Ed Morse Automotive, which now has 48 locations in seven states, selling 31 brands.

Chairman and CEO Teddy Morse said in a news release that the group is “thrilled to continue our expansion throughout the great state of Missouri as it has shown us such incredible hospitality at every dealership we’ve acquired. … Plus, we were impressed with the employees of this family-owned dealership, as they bring a tremendous knowledge and passion for automobiles, and a deep care for the customer.”

Group 1 goes solar in a big way

Group 1 Automotive’s commitment to solar energy has reached a new level.

Solar energy installer Freedom Solar Power announced it has now installed approximately 10,000 solar panels at its U.S. stores.

“Going solar is rapidly becoming a movement in the automotive industry,” Freedom Solar Power national automotive manager Ryan Ferrero said. “Dealerships often have ample roof areas to accommodate solar arrays powerful enough to offset a large percentage of their energy costs.

“The more auto dealers learn about solar power, the more they see it as an effective environmental, social and business strategy that is a win-win.”

Freedom Solar Power said the solar panels are “the centerpiece” of Group 1’s efforts to minimize the environmental impact of its operations, and noted the use of solar power supplements dealerships’ energy needs, saves money and :creates a more sustainable operational footprint.”

“For years we have worked with automotive dealerships across the nation to help make their businesses more energy- and cost-efficient,” Freedom Solar Power head of commercial sales Kyle Frazier said. “This alliance with Group 1 will multiply the effects of our efforts many times over.”

Group 1 is scheduled to complete installations at a total of 25 sites by the end 2024. Freedom Solar Power said the more than 10,000 solar panels already in place at Group 1 stores has generated more than 7.3 million kilowatt hours of power to date.

“Group 1 is continually improving our business operations while we work to achieve our long-term sustainability goals,” Group 1 vice president of procurement and facility services Gregg Wintner said. “Freedom Solar Power has been an instrumental partner in implementing our solar initiatives. Together, we are delivering on our company’s commitment to scaling renewable energy solutions across our portfolio.”