Chances are you've had Pep Boys or Jiffy Lube change your car's oil—both chains are vying to be your one-stop shop for auto needs. Now that billionaire Carl Icahn's Pep Boys acquisition is complete, will competition heat up?
Though the company's official name suggests that three men founded Pep Boys, it was actually the brainchild of four Navy friends (there were two Moes) who witnessed the burgeoning auto market and saw an opportunity. Now, with over 800 locations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the company is known for more than just servicing cars and selling auto parts. In recent years the company's focus has been to improve customer service. It makes sense then that Pep Boys is cribbing from high-end car dealerships by offering amenities like customer lounges with free Wi-Fi. The effort seems to have paid off, drawing big names like Carl Icahn into the fold. In late 2015 the billionaire won a bidding war for the company, beating out Bridgestone, in an effort to expand his auto business portfolio.
Since it was founded in 1979, Jiffy Lube has worked to redefine how people think about oil changes, making them easier and faster for consumers via a host of innovations. The company was the first to offer the drive-through service bay, as well as the window sticker to remind customers of their next due date. Jiffy Lube also created the first nationwide database of customer information, meaning that the chain's customers could go to any location and still access their service records. In the 1990s, it was acquired by Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., which was then bought by Shell Oil in 2002. Though Shell owns Jiffy Lube the corporation, its franchises are locally owned across the U.S.
This story first appeared in the August 8, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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