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AutoNation Sales Up 6% in March

Zacks Equity Research

Total retail sales of new vehicles of automotive retailer AutoNation Inc. (AN) increased 6% year over year to 28,796 units in Mar 2014. On a same-store basis, retail new vehicle sales increased 4% from Mar 2013 to 28,158 units.

Retail new vehicle unit sales in AutoNation’s Domestic segment improved 9% to 9,233 vehicles. The segment comprises retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F), Chrysler and others.

Sales in AutoNation’s Import segment escalated 3% to 14,183 vehicles in Mar 2014. The segment covers retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation (TM), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC) and others.

In the Premium Luxury segment of AutoNation, sales surged 8% to 5,380 vehicles during the month. This segment consists of retail automotive franchises selling vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and other carmakers.

Earnings Review

AutoNation reported all-time record high adjusted earnings from operations in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company posted a 24% rise in earnings per share to 83 cents in the fourth quarter from 67 cents in the same quarter of 2012. Earnings per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents.

Revenues increased 8.4% to $4.5 billion, marginally missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.6 billion. The revenue growth was attributable to strong performances in all business sectors. The company’s Premium Luxury segment was the biggest gainer in the quarter.

AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. and is headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, FL. As of Apr 2, 2014, the company owned and operated 270 new vehicle franchises that sell 33 brands in the major metropolitan markets of 15 states.

AutoNation currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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