"Recent acquisitions brought us to a critical growth point that enables our unified leadership structure to capitalize on across-the-board efficiencies," Sun Auto Tire CEO Frank Kneller said.
The rebrand will help align employees, suppliers and industry contacts with the corporate Sun name, Mr. Gardner said. The Sun Auto Tire name — taken from the Sun Auto Service/Sun Devil Auto chain it acquired in July 2020 — will help increase the equity company's visibility, particularly on the mergers-and-acquisition side, he added.
"To let people know we're there, and we're interested in helping maintain their legacy and help them find a path to an exit should that be what the (tire shop owner) wants."
Sun Auto Tire ranks as the seventh largest independent retail tire dealership in the U.S., according to Tire Business calculations. The company does not disclose sales revenue.
Announcement of the corporate rebrand follows a series of acquisitions, extending the company's reach in California, Oklahoma and Texas.
"Over the past several years, we've carefully crafted a strong portfolio of automotive service brands that are recognized and trusted leaders in their respective markets," Mr. Kneller said.
"From a big-picture perspective, the Sun brand enjoys a strong leadership position across several of our regions. It made sense for us to adopt it to capitalize on the brand's strength, as a foundational element of our continued growth path."
Most recently, Sun Auto acquired six locations in Texas, including four shops in San Antonio that were part of Monro Inc.'s Car-X Tire & Auto network. Because the stores were part of another franchise, they will be rebranded with the Sun Auto Tire identity.
Sun Auto Tire also took over a pair of Foundation Auto Repair shops, in Austin and Round Rock, Texas. That deal closed April 23.
"This expansion is especially significant, because it brings the important and strategic market of San Antonio into our Texas footprint," Sun Auto Regional Vice President Jim Ramsey said. "In the months and years ahead, we look to continue to grow, serving the people of Texas with exceptional auto repair and customer service."
The Car-X Tire stores in San Antonio previously were owned/operated by franchisee Raj Mulwani. The acquisitions bring to 42 the number of tire and auto service locations that Sun Auto Tire operates under that brand in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The company also operates locations in Houston and the Dallas/Fort Worth area under Lamb's Tire & Automotive and Driver's Edge brands, respectively.
In California, Sun Auto Tire acquired Fresno, Calif.-based Goodguys Tires & Auto Repair and its nine stores.
Prior to that, the Phoenix-based company bought Houston-area ServiceONE Automotive (three stores); Austin, Texas-area dealer Reliable Automotive (three stores); Tate Boys Tire & Service of Oklahoma (seven stores); and Phoenix-based Sun Devil Auto and Sun Auto Service (32 locations).
"It's important to be nimble as well and adapt," Mr. Gardner said. "When we're talking about such a fast growing company with M&A and greenfield development, you have to be able to adapt quickly."
Sun Tire looks to keep growing this year, he said, though he declined at this time to give specifics.
"We intend to continue our growth quite aggressively," he said.
Mr. Gardner noted the company has "several" greenfields in planning and under construction, including a store in Austin, Texas, that the company plans to open this summer.
Sun Tire also plans to acquire more existing retailers.
"It's exciting to be a part of and will continue to be," Mr. Gardner said.