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Separated At Birth

April 16, 2010

I had lunch yesterday with an old friend from AutoNation.  David now works for JM&A, and I started thinking about the two companies.  AutoNation is the world’s largest auto retailer.  Jim Moran Enterprises is the most vertically integrated.  I picture them in opposite corners of a Gartner chart.

Mike Jackson put an end to AutoNation Financial Services in 2002, because he wanted no distractions from the pure retail business.  Mr. Moran’s vision, by contrast, was that he would control every revenue stream within his Southeast Toyota footprint – from the port to the stores, including financing and all the F&I products.  Today the finance arm, World Omni, is so strong that it does third-party servicing for other lenders.  Each of these businesses, up and down Moran Boulevard, is a strong competitor in its own right.

I wonder if a single entity could combine the two strategies – the depth of a JM with the breadth of a public dealer group.

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