The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: AutoNation, Ford Motor, General Motors, Toyota Motor and Honda Motor - Press Releases


For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL - May 10, 2012 - announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include AutoNation Inc. ( AN ), Ford Motor Co. ( F ), General Motors Company ( GM ), Toyota Motor Corp. ( TM ) and Honda Motor Co. ( HMC ).

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Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:


AutoNation Sales Rise 12%

AutoNation Inc. ( AN ) announced a 12% rise in new vehicles sales to 20,534 units in April 2012. The improvement in sales was attributable to higher sales in all its segments compared to the comparable month of the prior year.

Sales in the Domestic segment went up 9% to 6,306 units. The segment comprises of retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. ( F ), General Motors Company ( GM ) and Chrysler. During the month, the automotive retailer's sales of Ford vehicles went up 4%.

Sales in the Import segment hiked 16% to 10,358 units. The segment comprises of retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corp. ( TM ), Honda Motor Co. ( HMC ) and others. The retailer's sales of Toyota-made vehicles escalated 29% in the reported month.

Light vehicle sales in the U.S depicted a sluggish growth of 2.3% to 1.18 million units from 1.16 million units in April last year. Meanwhile, it went up 9.5% to seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 14.42 million units from 13.17 million units in the year-ago month.

The sluggish growth was attributable to lower sales performance of the two biggest players in the industry - General Motors and Ford , and fewer selling days (due to more Sundays in the month compared with April 2011). However, auto sales were favorably affected by fuel-efficient lineups and pent-up demand.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. The company owns and operates 260 new vehicle franchises that sell 32 brands located in the major metropolitan markets in 15 states. The company offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicle, used vehicles, vehicle maintenance and repair services, vehicle parts, vehicle protection products and other aftermarket products.

AutoNation posted its first-quarter 2012 profits of 56 cents per share, up 22% from 46 cents in the year-ago quarter, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents per share.

Revenues in the quarter rose 10.4% to $3.7 billion from $3.3 billion in the same quarter last year. It was higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.6 billion. The higher revenues were attributable to improvement in retail new vehicle sales.

The company's effort to expand its dealer network by investing in existing stores and service centers will help it to outgrow peers. With this, the company retains a Zacks #1 Rank, which implies a short-term Strong Buy rating.

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Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.

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AUTONATION INC (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report
FORD MOTOR CO (F): Free Stock Analysis Report

GENERAL MOTORS (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report
HONDA MOTOR (HMC): Free Stock Analysis Report
TOYOTA MOTOR CP (TM): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Investing , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AN , F , GM , HMC , TM

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