DETROIT, April 17 AutoNation Inc, the
largest U.S. automobile dealer group, on Thursday posted a
higher first-quarter profit despite the severe winter weather
that slowed sales.
The company still expects the U.S. auto industry's
new-vehicle sales this year to rise 3 to 5 percent, ending above
16 million, Chief Executive Mike Jackson said in a statement.
Last year, the industry sold 15.6 million new cars and light
Jackson previously said business in the last 10 days of
March was "simply phenomenal."
AutoNation's net income in the first quarter rose to $95.1
million, or 78 cents a share, compared with $83 million, or 67 a
share, in the year earlier period.
Excluding one-time items, it earned 75 cents a share, two
cents above what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had
Sales in the quarter rose 7 percent from last year to $4.36
billion, slightly above the $4.32 billion analysts had expected.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; Editing by Sofina