AutoNation's Jackson worried about election 'distraction' in marketplace

AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson noted yesterday on CNBC that this summer’s big sales surges were triggered by holiday promotions. Then he looked ahead.

“Now the next big event on the calendar is Election Day,” Jackson said. “I haven’t figured out how to make that into a sales day yet.”

In fact, Jackson is worried the coming mid-term election could hurt sales.

“It is an important tipping point for the entire psychology in the marketplace on how this recovery is going to play out,” Jackson said on the cable news channel. “Because the absolute numbers are still at a depression.”

He went on to add: “What happens with this election for mid-terms is almost at a presidential level. I think it will be a distraction in the marketplace.”

Jackson, who in the past has described his political philosophy as “almost libertarian Republican,” was also clear on how he wants the vote to tip.

He criticized Democrats for not passing legislation to address expiring tax cuts, saying: “I really hope we don’t wake up in early November with Pelosi, Reid and Obama still in charge of this recovery.”

But he once again praised the federal bailout of the auto industry, saying he believes the government will get almost all of its money back. “On that point, for both Republicans and Democrats, I give high marks.”