AutoNation Inc. posted $74 million in net income for the first three months of 2012, representing a 5.7 percent hike from figures posted in the same period in 2011. This roughly translates to per-share profits being 22 percent higher from 46 cents in the same period in 2011. The company posted a 10 percent hike in the first three months of 2011 to reach total revenues of $3.7 billion.
The company, which repurchased 11.7 million shares of common stock in the first quarter, attributed the increase to stronger new vehicle sales, as U.S. consumers replaced their aging vehicles at a rapid pace.
AutoNation's new-vehicle unit sales soared 8 percent on a same-store basis and 10 percent overall. AutoNation chief executive Mike Jackson likewise attributed the company’s strong first quarter performance to good credit availability and refreshed products, saying that during the period, consumers enjoyed a wider array of choices and a strong credit environment.
Jackson added that despite the new fuel prices increases, the company’s strong performance in the first quarter of 2012 will continue, supported by accelerated product launches, replacement demand and robust consumer credit. Jackson said that the increasing fuel prices have been steadily offset by improved fuel economy across vehicle segment, thus allowing sales of both cars and trucks to continue their recovery.
Autonation noted that vehicles having fuel economy ratings of more than 25 miles per gallon accounted for 75 percent of its sales, while vehicles having fuel economy ratings of more than 30 miles per gallon accounted for 40 percent of its sales. Autonation is the largest dealership group in the United States.