A surge in sales of import-brand vehicles drove AutoNation Inc.’s May volume up by 45 percent.
AutoNation, the largest U.S. dealership group, sold 23,763 new vehicles in May, up from 16,347 in May 2011. Import-brand sales alone soared 78 percent in May to 12,300 vehicles.
The import-brand increase follows the rebound in Japanese-brand vehicle inventories. In the spring of 2011, U.S. supplies and sales of import-brand vehicles were devastated by the Japan earthquake and tsunami. That has changed: AutoNation’s sales of Toyota-brand vehicles, for example, rose 120 percent in May.
Domestic and luxury brands did well in May, too, AutoNation reported. The retailer’s domestic-brand sales rose 21 percent to 7,260 vehicles. Luxury-brand sales rose 23 percent to 4,203 vehicles.
California, Texas and Florida were bright spots last month for AutoNation. The retailer’s California sales soared 60 percent. Sales were up 47 percent in Texas and 44 percent in Florida.