(AN) AutoNation Posts Sales Increase of 15%

AutoNation Inc. (AN) posted a 15% increase in new vehicle sales to 25,489 units in March 2012 compared with the same month in the previous year. The company recorded improvement in sales in all of its segments.

Sales in the Domestic segment hiked 26% to 7,991 vehicles; Imports increased 10% to 13,403 vehicles and the Premium Luxury segment rose 10% to 4,095 vehicles during the month.

Last month, light vehicle sales in the U.S. grew 10% to seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.4 million units from 13.1 million units in the same month of 2011. The increase was driven by higher demand for fuel-efficient small cars and compacts due to rising gas prices. Mild weather and increasing age of vehicles on road stimulated sales during the month.

Large vehicles also performed well during the month. The improvement was driven by attractive promotions on trucks, along with expanding opportunities in the job market and higher consumer confidence.

AutoNation offers a range of automotive products and services, including new vehicles, used vehicles, vehicle maintenance and repair services, vehicle parts, extended service contracts, vehicle protection products, and other aftermarket products.

The key brand of vehicles that the company offers for sale are manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F), Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Nissan Motor Co. (NSNAY), General Motors Company (GM), Honda Motor Co. (HMC), Daimler AG’s (DDAIF) Mercedes-Benz , BMW, and Chrysler.

AutoNation holds a Zacks #2 Rank (Buy) on its shares. The company earned $71 million or 51 cents per share in fourth quarter of 2011 compared with $68 million or 45 cents per share in the same quarter last year. With this, the profit surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents per share.

Revenues in the quarter augmented by 13% to $3.7 billion from $3.2 billion in the same quarter last year. This growth was mainly fueled by strong sales volume in retail, new and used vehicles. Revenues were also higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.5 billion.

AUTONATION INC (AN): Free Stock Analysis Report

DAIMLER AG (DDAIF): 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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