On Monday, one of the country’s largest automotive retailers, AutoNation, announced the acquisition of maintenance company RepairSmith to boost its after-sale options.
The purchase is expected to cost the dealership network $190 million when it closes early next year. AutoNation has already spent millions this year alone in buyouts and investments, after a successful year fueled by a roughly 30% increase in revenue since 2020.
RepairSmith is a mobile car servicing business based in Los Angeles with operations in eight different states. Its service model allows drivers to schedule repairs at locations of their choosing, rather than at a dealership or shop. Its technicians travel to the area specified, where they can work on individual cars or entire fleets depending on the customer.
Over the years, AutoNation has grown its services across area providers to include financing, insurance and fixed operations. The company expects the buyout to increase its after-sale offerings, leveraging RepairSmith’s assets, model and consumer network to expand maintenance coverage for current and future customers.
After-sale services are more important than ever for dealers to focus on. While fixed operations used to provide steady income for many businesses, it is likely that the EV transition will disrupt this model. Electric cars have fewer moving parts, and while technology and software issues abound, they generally require less maintenance to keep on the road, meaning drivers will need to visit the repair shop less frequently. However, with after-sale options such as mobile maintenance, dealerships can expand their networks to include customers farther away. AutoNation’s deal will likely keep many of their dealerships running, even as demand for repairs decrease over the next two decades.
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