) posted a 7% rise in new vehicle sales to 27,199 vehicles in
March. Among the three operating segments of AutoNation, growth
in the Premium Luxury was the highest in the month. Same-store
retail new vehicle sales increased 4% to 26,441 units.
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Sales of the Domestic brands, which comprise stores that sell
vehicles manufactured by U.S. automakers including
), grew 6% on a year-over-year basis to 8,448 units.
Sales of the Import brands, comprising stores that sell vehicles
manufactured primarily by Japanese automakers including
Toyota Motor Corp.
), went up 4% to 13,789 units.
Meanwhile, sales of the Premium Luxury brands, comprising stores
that sell vehicles including
) Mercedes Benz, BMW and Toyota Lexus, escalated 15% to 4,962
In the first quarter of 2013, AutoNation's retail new vehicle
unit sales improved 10%. Domestic sales rose 12%, Import up 6%,
and Premium Luxury increased 19% from the first quarter of 2012.
Same-store retail new vehicle unit sales in the quarter rose 7%
on a year-over-year basis.
Auto sales in the U.S. rose by 3.4% year-over-year to 1.45
million vehicles in March, the best monthly sales in almost six
years. This translated into a seasonally adjusted rate (SAAR) of
15.27 million units for the year, up about 8.0% from 14.14
million units in the same month of 2012. Better construction
market, cheap financing, strong pent-up demand and improving
consumer confidence continue to fuel sales growth.
AutoNation, a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) stock, posted a 31.4% increase
in earnings per share from continuing operations to 67 cents in
the fourth quarter of 2012 from 51 cents in the corresponding
quarter last year. With this, profits surpassed the Zacks
Consensus Estimate by 2 cents. In absolute terms, profits
escalated 16.3% to $82.9 million from $71.3 million in the
Revenues for the quarter increased 13.5% to $4.2 billion from
$3.7 billion in the year-ago quarter. The growth in revenues was
driven by strong performance of all the businesses. Revenues were
ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.0 billion.