(AN) AutoNation Sales Climb 23% in September

AutoNation Inc. (AN) has registered outstanding new vehicles sales in September 2012. Sales in the month rose 23% year over year to 22,982 vehicles. The growth was attributable to higher demand for imported vehicles along with higher sales across all segments.

Sales in the Domestic segment increased 10% to 6,870 vehicles. The segment comprises retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F), General Motors Company (GM) and Chrysler.

Sales in the Import segment escalated 38% to 11,854 vehicles. The segment consists of retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles produced by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Honda Motor Co. (HMC), and Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY).

Sales in the Premium Luxury segment surged 11% to 4,258 vehicles during the month. The segment consists of retail automotive franchises selling vehicles manufactured by Daimler AG’s (DDAIF) Mercedes Benz, BMW and Lexus.

AutoNation recorded a 14% increase in new vehicle sales to 21,650 units in July 2012 and 28% growth in sales to 23,213 units in August 2012. The company registered nearly 22% increase in new vehicle sales in the third quarter of 2012. Domestic segment sales jumped 12%, Import segment sales went up 35% and Premium Luxury segment sales climbed 6% in the third quarter.

Auto sales in the U.S., in September 2012, grew 13% to 1.19 million vehicles. Seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) went up 13.7% to 14.9 million vehicles from 13.1 million vehicles in September last year. The factors responsible for this remarkable improvement were strong pent-up demand, cheap financing at 4.1% interest rate, launch of several redesigned and fuel-efficient vehicles, rebound in consumer confidence and the comeback of Toyota, the world’s third largest automaker, with an outstanding sales volume.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. The company owns and operates about 261 new vehicle franchises that sell 32 brands located in the major metropolitan markets in 15 states.

AutoNation offers an array of automotive products and services, ranging from new vehicles, used vehicles, vehicle maintenance and repair services, vehicle parts, vehicle protection products to other aftermarket products. Currently, it retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Hold rating.

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