AutoNation's December Sales Up 6%

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AutoNation Inc. (AN) recorded 6% year-over-year increase in sales to 29,596 vehicles in Dec 2013. The growth was mainly attributable to strong sales of Premium Luxury vehicles. On a same-store basis, retail new vehicle sales went up 1% to 28,271 units.

Sales in the Domestic segment rose 2% to 8,578 vehicles. The segment comprises retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F), Chrysler and others.

Sales in the Import segment increased 3% to 13,838 vehicles. The segment covers retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC) and others.

Sales in the Premium Luxury segment escalated 18% to 7,180 vehicles during the month. The segment consists of retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and others.

AutoNation recorded a 9% increase in new vehicle sales to 22,914 units in Oct 2013 and 13% growth to 25,454 units in November. With this, the company registered nearly 9% year-over-year increase in new vehicle sales to 77,964 vehicles in the fourth quarter of 2013. Domestic segment sales improved 8%, Import segment sales went up 7% and Premium Luxury segment sales climbed 15% in the quarter.

AutoNation witnessed an 11% improvement in new vehicle sales to 296,419 vehicles in full-year 2013. Domestic segment sales went up 13%, Import segment sales rose 7% and Premium Luxury segment sales climbed 16% in the year.

The U.S. automobile market has completely recovered from the impact of recession in 2013. Auto sales in the nation increased 8% year over year to 15.6 million units during the year.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. The company owns and operates about 269 new vehicle franchises that sell 33 brands located in the major metropolitan markets across 15 states. AutoNation currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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