CEO of the iconic transmission franchise opens up about the future of AAMCO and more in a wide-ranging Q&A
AAMCO, the worldwide leader in transmission repair, is one of the most forward-thinking brands in the franchise industry. Cars are becoming more like computers on wheels, and electric and hybrid vehicles continue to be increasingly prominent in the market. In response, AAMCO is leveraging our 50+ year legacy as the go-to brand for transmission repair to stake a position as the industry specialist for complex car repair going forward.
Jim Gregory, CEO, is leading the charge to make the AAMCO franchise stronger than ever by investing in state-of-the-art technology, training for technicians and simplifying the proven business model to make AAMCO easier to run and quicker to scale than ever before.
In this wide-ranging Q&A, Gregory opens up about the future of AAMCO, why now is a good time to invest and why AAMCO will dominate the increasingly complex car-repair market.
How does being a part of the Icahn Automotive Group benefit AAMCO franchise owners?
Gregory: This gives us tremendous advantages. We’re part of the industry’s largest group of automotive companies, with more than 2,000 stores and 20,000 employees. The advantages to the AAMCO franchisees are many. We have access to the best parts at the best pricing; we have referral programs with our sister company Pep Boys, which sends transmission customers to AAMCO; we have preferred relationships with fleets of vehicles because of our access to 2,000 stores; and we only expect these advantages to increase going forward.
Why is AAMCO poised for strong growth in the future as the leader in complex car repair?
Gregory: When I joined AAMCO, I joined because I loved the brand. We’re unique in our ability to be known for complex repairs. We’ve been fixing customer’s transmissions for more than 50 years. We have the best technicians and the best salespeople in the industry, and we’re going to leverage that to be the industry’s leader in complex repairs: powertrain, hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles and more. We’re uniquely able to fill that for consumers because of our brand heritage and the quality of our technicians and salespeople. Consumers’ vehicles are getting more and more complex. Five years from now, ten years from now, twenty years from now, fixing our vehicles will be more complex than ever before. What do consumers need in that environment? They need a brand that excels at fixing complicated problems, and that is what AAMCO will be. That is how we’re going to position the brand as we move into the future.
Why is now a good time to invest in an AAMCO franchise?
Gregory: We’re lucky to be in a wonderful industry. This industry is worth more than $100 billion dollars, it’s very stable and it’s recession-resistant. The industry is consolidating, and as part of the Icahn Automotive Group, I think we’ll be able to take market share from our competitors because of our brand, our scale advantage, our marketing and our technical expertise, as we strive to meet consumers’ needs. There couldn’t be a better time to invest in AAMCO.
What will AAMCO gain from being the leader in fixing electric and hybrid vehicles?
Gregory: As an automotive aftermarket player, one of the things we look at is, “What are the cars on the road?” What’s great for us is we have the lead time on what cars we will be servicing in the future. The cars that we’re servicing now are 11 years old, and we know that in 5-10 years the cars that will need to be repaired are hybrids and electric vehicles. As the leader in complex car repair, AAMCO is perfectly positioned to take advantage of that opportunity. We’re training our technicians now so as to be ready when these vehicles start appearing in our centers. One important thing about owners of hybrids and electric vehicles is that they recognize the need for a specialist to fix their cars. We’re positioning AAMCO as the brand they can rely on to take care of their vehicles.
As the leader in complex car repair, why is it important to continually invest in new technology?
Gregory: If we’re going to position AAMCO as the leader in complex repairs, we’re going to need to have the industry’s best technology. We’ve made a lot of investments in technology platforms to benefit our franchisees. The goal is to drive higher store profits. What we’re doing is leveraging the best systems that are available to get the best data, and then put that data in front of our franchisees to make it actionable. We have a tight set of KPIs that we provide to our franchisees, in an easy to access way, so that they can look at their data and make the decisions to grow their businesses.
What makes you proud when you reflect on your tenure with AAMCO thus far?
Gregory: I joined because I’m passionate about small business owners. I love working with our franchisees. If we do our job well we can help our franchisees drive growth, so they can take care of their families, take care of their employees and take care of their customers. It makes me tremendously proud to think that we help so many entrepreneurs thrive in their businesses.
Bring the iconic auto repair franchise to your community
Interested candidates should have a minimum net worth of $250,000 and liquid assets of at least $65,000 per unit. Depending on the real estate site selected, franchisees can expect the total investment to be approximately $223,600 to $330,000 with a $39,500 initial franchise fee. AAMCO offers financing support for qualified candidates. Reduced franchise fees also are available for honorably discharged veterans.