AutoNation has its roots in the 1981 founding of Republic Industries, a company specializing in waste disposal. The company began selling used cars with the acquisition of Auto Nation USA in 1996. Some dealers began seeking out Republic to sell their dealerships because of the long-term contracts. In 1996, Republic built twelve AutoNation locations.
In 1997, Republic began purchasing new car dealerships. The same year, the company acquired Alamo Rent A Car. The next year Republic acquired several more car rental companies, including Spirit Rent-A-Car, Value Rent-A-Car, Snappy Car Rental, and EuroDollar Rent A Car.
In 2009, AutoNation announced the AutoNation Payment Protection program, which promised that any Autonation dealership would buy back any car at market value, should the owner lose their job.
In August 2013, AutoNation announced the sale of its 9 Millionth vehicle, a record achievement in the auto industry.
Today AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the United States and is the leading provider of new and pre-owned vehicles. The company owns and operates 371 dealerships across America selling 32 different manufacturing brands in 15 states.
AutoNation trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AN, is a member of the S&P 500, and is #177 in the Fortune 500. AutoNation has 26,000 employees and had $20.86 billion in revenue in 2016.