AutoZone headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee
|Traded as||NYSE: AZO
S&P 500 Component
Hoover's. Retrieved on December 4, 2011.
|Founded||July 4, 1979
(as Auto Shack)|
Forrest City, Arkansas, U.S.
|Headquarters||Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.|
Number of locations
|6,000  (In the United States, Mexico, Brazil.)|
|Pitt Hyde, Founder
William C. Rhodes, Chairman, President, and CEO
William T. Giles, CFO
|Products||Automotive parts and accessories|
Number of employees
|70,000 (August, 2012)|
AutoZone is the largest retailer of aftermarket automotive parts and accessories in the United States, recently surpassing Advance Auto Parts. Founded in 1979, AutoZone has over 6,000 stores across the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. The company is based in Memphis, Tennessee.
Originally a division of Memphis-based wholesale grocer Malone & Hyde, the company was known as Auto Shack. After the sale of the grocery operation to the Fleming Companies of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the name of the company was changed to AutoZone to reflect the new focus and to settle a lawsuit brought by Tandy Corporation for infringing on Tandy's "Radio Shack" trademark.
In 1981, Express Parts or VDP is implemented to get the customers hard to find parts by special ordering them through wholesalers. Total stores was 73 in 7 states.
In 1984, the company became the first auto parts retailer to create a quality control program for its parts. Total stores was 194 in 13 states.
In 1985, Doc Crain coined the term WITTDTJR, which stands for "What it takes to do the job right." Total store count is 263 in 14 states.
By 1986, expansion had made the company grow into a large store chain across the South and the Midwest. That year, Darren Reltherford, manager of Auto Shack's Memphis, Tennessee store, received the first Extra Miler award, which has since been given to AutoZoners who show their dedication to customer satisfaction by "going the extra mile" for customer service. The Duralast line of alternators and starters is released. The Loan-A-Tool program begins allowing customers the ability to borrow specific tools for jobs. The 4th Distribution Center in Greenville, South Carolina opens. Total of stores is 339 in 15 states.
In 1987, Auto Shack officially changed its name to AutoZone. The first AutoZone store was in Enid, Oklahoma. That year also, the company introduced WITT-JR, an electronic catalog used to look up parts and keep warranty information. Total of stores is now 459 in 16 states.
In 1989, the company began using a computerized store management system (SMS). The Duralast battery line is released consisting of Sub-Zero, Desert and long life. Total of stores is 513 in 17 states.
In 1991, its stock began trading on the New York Stock Exchange using the ticker symbol "AZO."  It opened up at $27.50 a share. It was then valued at $1 billion. The 5th DC opens in Lafayette, Louisiana. The company also became the first auto parts retailer to register customer warranties in a computer database.
In 1994, AutoZone began using satellites to facilitate communication between stores and the corporate office. Sales hit $1.5 billion.
In 1995, AutoZone opened its 1,000th store in Louisville, Kentucky. Also, the Duralast trademark made its debut with the Duralast and Duralast Gold batteries. Total of stores is now 1,143 in 26 states.
1996 was the year when the Internet era arrived at the company, when AutoZone opened its company Web site. The new commercial program debuted in Germantown, Tennessee. ALLDATA, a software company based in Elk Grove, California that provides automotive diagnostic and repair information, was acquired.
Pitt Hyde retired as chairman and CEO in 1997. John Adams became the new chairman and CEO.
In 1998, AutoZone acquired 112 Auto Palace stores in six states in the northeastern United States, 43 TruckPro L.P. stores in 14 states, and 560 Chief Auto Parts Inc. stores in 5 states. At the commencement of fiscal 1999, AutoZone made another acquisition by purchasing 100 Express stores from The Pep Boys—Manny, Moe & Jack. The company began a process of internationalization with their first store abroad, which opened in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. AutoZone closed the 1990s by debuting at the Fortune 500 list in 1999.
Steve Odland became AutoZone's third CEO in 2001. AutoZone's Vision and Values are released. Vision: "Relentlessly creating the most exciting Zone for vehicle solutions!" AutoZone's value statements: Integrity, Respect, Teamwork, Communication, Innovation, Initiative, Accountability, Thriftiness, Leadership, Excellence. Also in 2001, AutoZone sold TruckPro to Paratus Capital Management.
In 2002, AutoZone developed a network of "hub, feeder, and satellite" stores to have more product in the market area, while reducing inventory investment. Sales hit $5.33 billion.
In 2003, the Duralast tool line was introduced. This was a year of important negotiations for AutoZone, as the company partnered with other important auto parts industry companies, such as CarMax and Midas. AutoZone de Mexico opens the first DC in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Total stores number 3,219 in 48 states and 49 in Mexico.
In 2007 Bill Rhodes, then 42, was named Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of AutoZone, Inc. on June 6.
In 2012 AutoZone opened their first store in Brazil.
On November 24, 2014, an AutoZone store in Dellwood, Missouri (misidentified in most media reports as being in Ferguson, Missouri) was burned during violent protests. The store was said to have been looted before being set on fire. Nobody was injured in the store. The company later removed all remains of the building and vacated the property.
AutoZone has its headquarters in its J.R. Hyde, III Store Support Center (SSC), a 270,000 square feet (25,000 m2), eight-story building in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee. In October 1995 the company moved into the building. As of 2013 there are over 1,200 employees there.
The project manager of the building's construction was Rob Norcross, a principal at LRK Inc. The building has the capability to withstand a 9.0 magnitude earthquake because it has a special base isolation system that had a price tag of $950,000.
Valucraft, Duralast, and Duralast Gold are AutoZone's private label brands for lead-acid automotive batteries (manufactured by Johnson Controls, East Penn, and other manufacturers). They also sell an AGM line of batteries under the Duralast Platinum name.
Brake pad labels, manufactured primarily by Bosch, include (ranging from least to most expensive):
- Duralast - OEM-like performance; semi-metallic or organic.
- Duralast Gold - OEM design and performance; semi-metallic or ceramic.
- Duralast Max - superior to OEM design and performance; ceramic.
Valucraft and Duralast Gold C-MAX pads are being phased out, as of early 2015.
The Valucraft, Duralast, and Duralast Gold names are used on various other parts and accessories as well.
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AutoZone holds the naming rights to the downtown Memphis baseball stadium that is the home of the Memphis Redbirds of the Pacific Coast League. The company also sponsors the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.[when?]
In 2004, AutoZone celebrated its 25th anniversary and announced a corporate sponsorship agreement with auto racing association NASCAR. In addition, founder J.R. "Pitt" Hyde III was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Pitt Hyde set a precedent as the first aftermarket retailer in the Automotive Hall of Fame.
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- United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit Archived November 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
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- AutoZone history
- "AutoZone, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Dec 4, 2012". secdatabase.com. Retrieved Jan 18, 2013.
- "AutoZone, Form 10-Q, Quarterly Report, Filing Date Dec 13, 2012" (PDF). secdatabase.com. Retrieved Jan 18, 2013.
- "AutoZone HQ holds title as most earthquake-resistant Memphis building." Memphis Business Journal. May 13, 2011. Retrieved on December 6, 2014.
- "Store Support Center." AutoZone. Retrieved on June 4, 2013.
- About Us: Our Company, Our Culture AutoZone Official Site
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to AutoZone.|
- AutoZone web site
- AutoZone Mexico site
- AutoZone corporate site
- ALLDATA web site
- AutoAnything web site