AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson says U.S. vehicle sales will reach 14 million in 2012 as consumers replace aging vehicles and Japanese manufacturers replenish inventory.
“It’s just going to be a terrific year for the industry,” Jackson said Monday on CNBC. “We’re on a journey back to 15.5 million, 16 million units, driven by a genuine replacement need. The vehicles are older than ever.”
That replacement demand helped AutoNation sales in December. The largest U.S. retailer reported new vehicle sales for last month of 24,342, up 11 percent from December 2010.
Strong luxury sales, up 32 percent, drove the improvement. The German luxury brands, in a race for the 2011’s luxury sales crown, did particularly well. AutoNation’s Mercedes sales jumped 56 percent, while its BMW sales rose 23 percent.
The retailer’s sales of domestic-brand vehicles jumped 17 percent. Chrysler sales rose 61 percent, while Ford increased 21 percent. AutoNation’s sales of mass-market import-brand vehicles were flat.
For the full year, AutoNation said it posted retail sales of 222,679 new vehicles, up 7 percent from 207,180 vehicles in 2010.