Auto Nation CEO predicts continued auto growth

(September 26, 2011) DENVER — Continuing their tour of the country Auto Nation CEO Mike Jackson and Auto Nation President Mike Maroone have taken their insider slideshow to company owned dealerships and employees in Colorado.

The program that has been repeated in several regions over several months focuses on the $500 million dollar investment that Auto Nation is making in building and renovation of dealerships, a three year program started in 2010, stretching across the nation.

In Denver, Jackson who heads up the largest dealership group in the U.S., predicted that sales will continue to grow not only in September but through the remainder of the year and beyond.

Sales projections presented to the more than 200 attendees, a least on a slide, but not verbally confirmed by Jackson when asked, showed 2012 sales reaching 14.2 million units and 15.9 million in 2012. Jackson believes the industry will eventually rebound to 16 and 17 million units annually.

The projection of 14.2 million units in 2012 is not far off the 14.1 million projected by Westlake Village, Calif. research and marketing firm J.D. Power and Associates.

Jackson noted that with Honda, Nissan and Toyota, finally recovering from the effects of the earthquake and tsunami that impacted Japan last March, will find themselves with enough inventories to make a difference in the market.

"Incentives are going to be better than they have been for the last six months," Jackson said. However he doesn’t believe there will be a price war or overly aggressive incentives to drive business since pent up demand will create the growth volume in the fourth quarter and into 2012.

Continued availability of bank lending at good financing rates will also drive business.
Jackson says, "The whole (auto) business is much more disciplined, rational, much more focused on the long-term."

Source: Reuters, MotorwayAmerica.