AutoNation: 'Cash for Clunkers' Will Benefit Company

Jun.29.09 | About: AutoNation Inc (AN)

I think 10% may be a bit conservative. From the empirical evidence department, I know several folks who are eagerly looking into the "cash for clunkers" program's details to get a new car. These are folks who have been putting off buying a new car for the past year and a half not wanting a new car payment. But, the advertised incentives, coupled with the age of their current vehicles, has them taking a very close look at this.

From Bloomberg:

AutoNation Inc. said the “cash-for- clunkers” law President Barack Obama signed may increase new- vehicle sales at the largest publicly traded U.S. auto retailer by 10 percent through year end.

AutoNation sold 65,698 new vehicles in the third quarter of last year through its 289 dealer franchises. A 10 percent increase from the law approved yesterday may mean “roughly” an extra 4,000 new vehicles because industry demand has been running as much as 40 percent lower than last year, according to Marc Cannon, a company spokesman.

“The fact that this incentive will be available only at new-vehicle franchises is a big advantage,” Chief Executive Officer Mike Jackson said in an interview. “At a minimum it will generate a lot of traffic.”

Knowing Jackson, my guess is that 10% is "in the bag" so to speak and he is looking for much more. In the past he has said about other statements of this order, "if we weren't sure we could do it, we wouldn't say it", and to this point, he has yet to let investors down on that. No reason to expect him to start now.

Disclosure: Long AN