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CARY, N.C. — Want to know how some of the big dealership groups are driving up their bottom lines and what they expect in terms of future sales?

AutoNation just reported first-quarter results this week and attributed much of its revenue growth to both new- and used-vehicle sales.

Overall, the company witnessed a 19-percent increase in revenue for the first quarter, a time frame which also saw the company's net income from continuing operations climb $5 million.

Basically, the dealership group generated $2.85 billion of revenue for the quarter, up 18.6 percent from the same period in 2009.

"We delivered strong double-digit growth in the first quarter, which was driven by both new- and used-vehicle unit sales and revenue," explained Mike Jackson, chairman and chief executive officer. "We have seen growth in all regions for two quarters, led by our largest state Florida, which was one of the first states to experience the effects of the economic downturn. First-quarter revenue for Florida was up 29 percent. We see an improved sales environment going forward."

Ultimately, he said, "By lowering our structural costs and efficiently managing our inventory, we were able to deliver substantial EPS growth in a steadily improving retail sales environment."

And a big part of the dealership group's growth was used-vehicle sales. Used-vehicle revenue, including both retail and wholesale, came in at $734.6 million for the period, up from $590.5 million. In fact, the company sold 37,773 used vehicles, an 11.5-percent year-over-year gain.

Touching upon some of the keys market trends at the Automotive Economic Forecast & Financial Forum will be Tim Trosclair, of AutoNation.

Moreover, he will be joined by Tammy Darvish, of DARCARS; Dan Weiss, of Sonic Automotive; Todd Caputo, of Sun Auto Warehouse; and Joe Castle, of Castle Dealerships.

The auto professionals are slated to participate in a session called "Industry Scorecard — How Dealers are Faring in the New Economy," which will focus on providing fresh insights and information from top U.S. dealers. The session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on May 11.

The Automotive Economic Forecast & Financial Forum will be held May 10-11 at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile.

The special hotel discount rate of $149 per night ends today. After today, the rate will jump to about $269 per night, so move quickly to take advantage of the deal.

The full event agenda, including a link for registration and booking hotel rooms can be found at www.automotiveforecastforum.com/agenda.

The event will draw attendees from a wide variety of companies, including automakers, finance companies, analysts and more. Companies that have already confirmed their attendance at the forum include:




Automotive Finance Corp.


Balboa Insurance Group

Black Book


Castle Dealerships

Center for Automotive Research

Chrysler Financial


DataScan Field Services

Diversified Recover



Experian Automotive

First Advantage CREDCO

First Trust Portfolios


Ford Motor Co.


Huntington Auto Finance and Dealer Services

Jumpstart Automotive Group

Kelley Blue Book

LeasePlan USA 


Patton Boggs LLP


PwC Autofacts

Remarketing Solutions, LLC 

Renovo Services LLC 

Sonic Automotive

Standard & Poor's

Sun Auto Warehouse

The Hertz Corp.

Tirekicking Today



Wells Fargo Securities, LLC