AutoNation Inc. (AN - Analyst Report) posted a 21% rise in new vehicle sales in November mainly driven by strong sales growth in its Import brands. The Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based automotive retailer’s total sales stood at 22,571 units during the month.
Sales of Domestic brands, which comprise stores that sell vehicles manufactured by General Motors (GM - Analyst Report), Ford Motor Co. (F - Analyst Report) and Chrysler LLC, grew 9% on a year-over-year basis to 6,444 units.
Sales of Import brands, comprising stores that sell vehicles manufactured primarily by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM - Analyst Report), Honda Motor Co. (HMC - Analyst Report) and Nissan Motor Co. (NSANY), improved 27% to 10,909 units.
Meanwhile, sales of the Premium Luxury brands, comprising stores that sell vehicles including Daimler AG’s (DDAIF) Mercedes Benz, BMW and Toyota Lexus, escalated 25% to 5,218 units.
Total sales in the U.S. grew 15% to 1.14 million vehicles or 15.5 million on a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) basis in the month, driven by pent-up demand generated from Hurricane Sandy as well as from the aging vehicles, and improving macroeconomic conditions. It was the five-year high sales recorded by the industry since 2007.
AutoNation reached deals to acquire Audi, Porsche and three Volkswagen (VLKAY) stores in Dallas from Boardwalk Auto Group and Spring Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram dealership from Alfred Flores and Bruce Glascock, both formerly involved with Red McCombs Automotive Group, based in San Antonio.
With the closure of these deals, the company will own and operate 50 franchises in Texas. It expects the stores to sell a total of 14,000 new and used vehicles this year, generating about $575 million in revenues.
AutoNation, a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold) stock, witnessed a 37.5% increase in earnings per share to 66 cents in the third quarter of 2012 from 48 cents in the corresponding quarter last year. However, profits missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. In absolute terms, profits escalated 15.8% to $81.9 million from $70.7 million in the year-ago quarter.
Revenues for the quarter increased 12.2% to $3.93 billion, marginally lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.95 billion. The growth in revenues was driven by strong retail new vehicle sales.