AutoNation sales rise 7 percent in August

AutoNation Inc. said today that its U.S. new-vehicle sales in August were the dealership group’s best since 2002.

August sales rose 7 percent from a year earlier to 32,660 vehicles, AutoNation said in a statement. On a same-store basis, August sales climbed 5 percent.

Through August, sales by the Fort Lauderdale, Fla., retailer rose 7 percent from the year-earlier level to 211,775.

Total U.S. auto sales grew 6 percent in August and have risen 5 percent year-to-date, automakers reported on Wednesday. The annual sales rate surged to 17.5 million -- the highest rate registered since January 2006.

AutoNation’s sales in both Florida and California grew 7 percent in August, the company said.

The nation’s largest automotive retailer, breaking down its sales by segment, said sales of luxury brands rose 11 percent, sales of domestic brands grew 8 percent and sales of mass-market import brands rose 5 percent.

Automotive sales are increasing because the “U.S. economic recovery continues with housing, development of energy and the need for replacement of older vehicles,” AutoNation spokesman Marc Cannon said.

AutoNation ranks No. 1 on the 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 Hannah Lutz at -- Follow Hannah on Twitter: @hm_lutz

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