AutoNation Inc.'s fourth-quarter net income more than doubled as used-vehicle revenue soared 55 percent to effectively cushion the auto retail giant's ongoing struggles with low new-vehicle inventories.
The company said net income soared 156 percent to $387.1 million. Revenue rose 14 percent to $6.58 billion during the quarter.
But AutoNation's new-vehicle business suffered, as it reported just a nine-day supply of new vehicles on Dec. 31, down from 10 days at the end of September and 42 days at the end of 2020.
"We expect consumer demand for personal vehicle ownership to remain strong for the foreseeable future and we are accelerating our self-sustaining used-vehicle business to meet this demand through our sourcing capabilities, selection of vehicles, footprint, digital tools and core efficiencies," AutoNation CEO Mike Manley, who took over as chief executive Nov. 1, said in a statement Thursday.
In the fourth quarter, AutoNation acquired nine Maryland dealerships and three collision centers from Priority 1 Automotive Group.
It also opened standalone used-vehicle AutoNation USA stores in Littleton, Colo., and Avondale, Ariz., in the fourth quarter. And it announced this month that it opened an AutoNation USA in Charlotte, N.C., marking its 10th outlet.
The retailer confirmed that it plans to open 12 AutoNation USA outlets in the next 12 months, on its way to more than 130 stores by the end of 2026.
In October, the company said in a regulatory filing that it planned to sell 17 collision centers — about a quarter of its store count — to Caliber Holdings in a deal then slated to close by the end of 2021. It confirmed the sale happened in the fourth quarter.
AutoNation shares closed Thursday's trading down 3.8 percent to $106.93 amid a broad market decline.
• Q4 revenue: $6.58 billion, up 14 percent from a year earlier
• Q4 net income: $387.1 million, up 156 percent from a year earlier
• Q4 adjusted operating income: $521.4 million, up 68 percent from a year earlier
• Q4 vehicle sales: AutoNation sold 132,043 new and used vehicles, down 1.4 percent
• 2021 revenue: $25.84 billion, up 27 percent from a year earlier
• 2021 net income: $1.37 billion, up 260 percent from a year earlier
• 2021 adjusted operating income: $1.89 billion, up 91 percent from a year earlier
• 2021 vehicle sales: AutoNation sold 566,767 new and used vehicles, up 15 percent
• Records: Fourth-quarter and full-year earnings per share
• Ranking: AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranks No. 1 on Automotive News' most recent list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 249,654 new vehicles in 2020.