The AAMCO Story
AAMCO automotive franchises have been recognized for mechanical excellence for more than 50 years
AAMCO is one of the best-known automotive franchises in the world, and new franchisees benefit from the recognition and trust that come from decades of success in the industry and millions of customers served. Here’s how we became an iconic brand.
The inspiration for an iconic brand
In 1938, Oldsmobile developed the first line of cars that featured automatic transmissions, and by the 1950s the automatic transmission had become a popular option on numerous makes and models. The proliferation of the automatic transmission in subsequent decades established the need for specialized care and repair.
AAMCO founder Anthony A. Martino was a respected technician working in Northeast Philadelphia in the 1950s when he decided to break out on his own. In 1957, Martino opened the first AAMCO Auto Truck and Repair, and by quickly asserting himself as the go-to mechanic for transmission repair in the Philadelphia area, he soon had more work than he could handle. The rest, as they say, is history.
AAMCO is born
In the early ’60s, the franchise industry began growing as the interstate highway network grew — traveling consumers wanted their “favorite brands” available wherever they went. McDonald’s and Holiday Inn were major names in early franchising history, and Martino saw the same potential in his own concept. However, he lacked the business background to do it. Enter Robert Morgan.
Morgan was a World War II veteran with a background in running a ballroom dance studio. When Morgan met Martino, the pair decided that the success Martino was experiencing in Philadelphia with specialized transmission repair could do well anywhere in the country. In 1962, they decided to officially franchise the concept, and in 1963, they signed their first franchising agreement to open a location in Newark, New Jersey.
Building a powerful brand
While the business concept of a transmission repair facility was taking shape, it was AAMCO’s commitment to advertising that helped create a household name and one of the most enduring brand signatures in advertising history: “Double-A-BEEP-BEEP-M-C-O.”
AAMCO also was one of the first advertisers to use celebrities and humor in television commercials. Its first commercial, shot in the early 1960s, featured Zsa Zsa Gabor. The commercial was an instant success and started a long line of award-winning ads for the brand.
Most recently we have returned to our advertising roots to help deliver the message of “Trust.” AAMCO has been repairing the most complicated part of your car, the transmission, for over 50 years, and therefore, we are the obvious choice to repair everything on your car. The signature “BEEP BEEP” is prominent in our new campaigns.
What’s next for our automotive franchises? Building for the future
Now is a great time to invest in an AAMCO automotive franchise because we’ve developed a five-year plan to leverage our 50-year heritage and create lifelong customers for our AAMCO franchise owners. Up until the early 2000s, we focused exclusively on transmission repair. Today, transmission repair still accounts for the majority of our revenue, but we are growing revenue quickly by providing more Total Car Care. To enable franchisees to capture more maintenance and repair business, it was important for AAMCO to simplify the transmission repair part of the business and free up franchisees’ resources. That’s why we made a significant investment, partnering with sister company Global Powertrain Systems (GPS) to build the state-of-the-art transmission remanufacturing facility adjacent to our new AAMCO University training center. The remanufacturing facility allows franchisees to send customers’ transmissions to us for reconditioning and repair. We then immediately ship an already-remanufactured transmission to the franchisee.
The process allows AAMCO owners to purchase high quality, remanufactured transmissions and provide a better warranty and faster turnaround times for the consumer. Franchisees also enjoy potential labor savings and additional capacity because they no longer rely on a transmission builder to serve every customer. When the shop is busy, they can turn to GPS for extra capacity. Some franchisees have jettisoned their in-shop transmission builder entirely and shifted those labor dollars to hiring more certified technicians to drive the growth of Total Car Care. AAMCO became a prominent and successful brand by dominating the transmission industry, but that only makes up about 6% of automotive repair spending. Now, we’re going after the other 94%.