AutoNation reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Friday, as the largest US auto retailer sold fewer new vehicles, and the company named a new chief executive officer. File Photo: Photo

INTERNATIONAL – AutoNation reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue on Friday, as the largest US car retailer sold fewer new vehicles, and the company named a new chief executive officer.

The tepid sales and the change of guard come against the backdrop of a likely drop in sales of new vehicles in the US this year as higher interest rates and rising prices may prompt customers to delay their buying plans.

Auto sales in 2018 had benefited from President Donald Trump’s overhaul of the US tax laws that put more money in the hands of consumers.

AutoNation’s net income from continuing operations fell to $92.9 million (R1.3 billion), or $1.02 per share, for the fourth quarter ended December 31, from $151.5m, or $1.64 per share, a year earlier, when it had a $41m benefit related to changes in the US tax reform.

Analysts on average expected the company to earn $1.14 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Revenue fell to $5.41 billion from $5.68 billion, largely missing analysts’ estimates of $5.63 billion.

The company said revenue from new vehicle sales declined 8.3 percent to $3.07 billion.

Reuters