DETROIT, July 18 AutoNation Inc, the
largest U.S. auto dealer group, reported a higher second-quarter
profit on Thursday as new-vehicle sales jumped 11 percent, and
reaffirmed its outlook for industry new-vehicle sales this year.
"When I said the industry would sell mid-15 million units
this year, we were one of the most optimistic," Chief Executive
Mike Jackson said in a telephone interview. "At the halfway
point, I'm very happy to say I'm confident about where the
industry is headed for this year."
In maintaining his outlook for industry sales, Jackson cited
the need of consumers to replace aging vehicles, new products
from manufacturers and attractive financing deals. He said
buyers had adjusted to gasoline prices around $3.50 a gallon and
it would take prices rising to $5.00 a gallon to alter buying
AutoNation's net income rose 14.4 percent to $89.9 million,
or 73 cents a share, from $78.6 million, or 64 cents a share, a
year earlier. The results matched analysts' expectations,
according to a poll by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue grew 13 percent to $4.4 billion, above the $4.33
billion analysts had expected. Retail new-vehicle unit sales
rose 11 percent, while sales on a same-store basis increased 7
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based company said it had
completed the rebranding of its stores to the parent company's