AutoNation CEO Forecasts Sales of 14 Million Units This Year

AutoNation (NYSE:AN) CEO Mike Jackson has a rosier view of the 2012 auto industry than others in the business: He foresees sales of 14 million units this year, said a report by CNBC. The most recent Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence study predicts 2012 new-vehicle sales of only around 13.3 million units, up from 12.8 million in 2011.

AutoNation broke company records with revenue of $3.7 billion and earnings of 51 cents, said Jackson, with the strongest growth in new vehicles.

“That says something for the entire auto industry and for the economy recovery that’s under way in the United States,” Jackson said. “Autos will be a bright spot for the U.S. economy this year.”

Jackson cited “leaner inventories” from automakers and “production that is coming in much closer aligned to what consumers actually want” as reasons for his prediction of higher sales. The result is that the auto retailer doesn’t need “incentives and liquidation prices to bridge the gap between what’s been produced and what customers want.”