FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — AutoNation Inc. reported increased profitability in each of its business sectors for the first quarter, with revenue up 10 percent and gross profit up 6 percent. Officials attributed the healthy profit gains to F&I performance and new-vehicle sales.
Net income from continuing operations rose almost 6 percent to $74 million for the quarter compared to the year-ago period. Revenue rose from $3.3 billion last year to 3.7 billion, with new-vehicle unit sales increasing 8 percent on a same-store basis and 10 percent overall.
Driven by increases in F&I and new-vehicle gross profits, overall gross profit for the dealer group increased 6 percent from the year-ago period to $603 million in the first quarter. F&I gross profit increased 7.2 percent per vehicle retailed to $1,213.
Officials also attributed the company’s gross profit gains to the $4.6 million, or $82 on a per new-vehicle retailed basis, related to additional incentives on premium luxury vehicles previously sold.
"The renaissance in auto retail is well underway, reflected in a seasonally adjusted U.S. industry annual selling rate of 14.5 million units for the first quarter of 2012,” said Mike Jackson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We have increased our 2012 U.S. industry new-vehicle sales forecast to mid-14 million units, as we see continued momentum in U.S. auto sales."
During the first quarter of 2012, AutoNation repurchased 11.7 million shares of common stock, or 9 percent of the shares outstanding as of Dec. 31, 2011, for an aggregate purchase price of $405.4 million. From April 1 through April 24, 2012, the company also repurchased 2.1 million shares for an aggregate purchase price of $70.8 million. As of April 24, 2012, there were approximately 122 million shares outstanding.
By segment, AutoNation’s domestic-brand stores experienced a 16 percent increase in new-vehicle unit sales, with income ($50 million) up $7 million from the year-ago period. The group’s import stores, which income of $62 million, also increased new-vehicle unit sales by 6 percent. New-vehicle unit sales for the group’s premium luxury stores were up 14 percent. Net income for those stores increase by $1 million to $59 million.