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Automotive retailer AutoNation Inc.’s (AN - Analyst Report) retail new vehicle sales increased 13% year over year to 76,743 units in the third quarter of 2013, driven by strong sales in all segments. On a same-store basis, retail new vehicle sales increased 8% over the third quarter of 2012. 

Retail new vehicle unit sales in AutoNation’s Domestic segment increased 17% to 23,782 vehicles. The segment comprises retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report), Chrysler and others.

Sales in AutoNation’s Import segment escalated 9% to 39,092 vehicles in the third quarter of 2013. The segment covers retail automotive franchises that sell vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report), Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (HMC - Analyst Report) and others.

Sales in AutoNation’s Premium Luxury segment jumped 19% to 13,869 vehicles during the quarter. The segment consists of retail automotive franchises selling vehicles manufactured by Mercedes Benz, BMW, Lexus and others.

Monthly Sales

On a monthly basis, AutoNation’s total retail new vehicle sales declined 10% year over year to 20,758 units in Sep 2013, due to decline in the Domestic and Import segments.

On a same-store basis, retail new vehicle sales fell 14% from Sep 2012 to 19,829 units. The inclusion of the Labor Day Holiday in August this year, as against its inclusion in September in 2012, played a role in the decline.

Sales in the Domestic segment declined 5% to 6,524 vehicles. Sales in the Import segment declined 17% to 9,853 vehicles. However, sales in the Premium Luxury segment rose 3% to 4,381 vehicles during the month.

Earnings Review

AutoNation reported all-time record earnings from operations in the second quarter of 2013. The company posted a 10.6% rise in earnings per share to 73 cents in the quarter from 66 cents in the same quarter of 2012. However, earnings per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.

Revenues increased 13.4% to $4.43 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.35 billion. The revenue growth was attributable to strong performance in all business sectors along with higher revenues from retailed used vehicle and Finance and Insurance businesses. The company’s Domestic segment was the biggest gainer in the quarter.

Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, AutoNation is the largest automotive retailer in the U.S. The company owns and operates about 267 new vehicle franchises that sell 33 brands located in the major metropolitan markets across 15 states.

AutoNation is expected to report its third-quarter financial results before the opening bell on Oct 24, 2013. The company currently retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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