DETROIT, April 18 AutoNation Inc, the
largest U.S. auto dealer group, on Thursday posted a
stronger-than-expected quarterly profit on increased demand for
both new and used cars.
The company also reaffirmed its outlook for U.S. industry
new-vehicle sales this year to finish in the mid-15 million
range, which would be up from 14.5 million last year.
Net income in the first quarter increased about 14 percent
to $83 million, or 67 cents a share, compared with $73 million,
or 55 cents a share, in the year-earlier quarter.
Earnings from continuing operations were 68 cents a share, 4
cents better than analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had
Revenue rose 12 percent from last year to almost $4.1
billion, above the $4.03 billion analysts had expected. Retail
new-vehicle unit sales rose 9 percent overall and 6 percent on a
same-store basis, while used-vehicle unit sales increased 10
percent overall or 7 percent on a same-store basis.
AutoNation said its rebranding strategy, under which it is
renaming its stores to the parent company's name, is about 30
percent complete and the company plans to complete that
transition in the second quarter.
The company also said it has signed deals to buy a Honda and
a Hyundai store in Phoenix and a Toyota store in Dallas. The
deals, expected to close in the second quarter, will add about
$250 million in combined annual revenue.