AutoNation unit sales up 14% in best April since 2006

AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest auto retailer, said today its U.S. new-vehicle retail sales rose 14 percent in April from a year earlier to 25,669 units, driven by a strong growth in company’s premium luxury segment.

It was the dealership group’s best-selling April since 2006.

Retail sales in AutoNation’s luxury segment jumped 22 percent in April from a year earlier to 4,952, the company said, highlighted by a 41 percent jump in sales for BMW.

AutoNation’s domestic and import brands also posted gains over the same month a year ago. Import-brand retail sales increased 18 percent to 12,857. Domestic-brand retail sales rose 4 percent to 7,860, AutoNation said.

Same-store sales rose 11 percent in April from the year earlier to 24,955.

Last month, the company’s first-quarter results exceeded analysts’ expectations due to a late surge car and truck purchases in March.

AutoNation shares closed at $52.82 on Thursday, up more than 6 percent so far this year.

AutoNation, based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranks No. 1 on Automotive News' list of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States, with retail sales of 292,922 new vehicles in 2013.

You can reach Andrew Thurlow at athurlow@crain.com

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