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AutoNation CEO Talks Q1 Report, Says Consumer Was 'Very Strong'

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AutoNation CEO Talks Q1 Report, Says Consumer Was 'Very Strong'

Automotive retailer AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN) reported first-quarter results Friday that were included an earnings beat and revenue miss. Following the print, CEO Carl Liebert was a guest on CNBC's "Squawk Box." 

What Happened

AutoNation said it earned $1.02 per share in the first quarter on revenue of $4.98 billion versus expectations of 93 cents per share and $5.23 billion. Net income from continuing operations fell from $93 million last year to $92 million, but rose on a per-share basis from $1.01 last year to $1.02.

One of the bigger focus areas management set for the first quarter was improving profit per new vehicle sold, Liebert told CNBC.

The company realized success in its objective, with gross profit per vehicle rising 8 percent from last year to $1,914, the CEO said.

Auto Nation also leveraged its brand extension strategies in customer financial services, he said, with the Customer Financial Services segment's gross profit per vehicle retailed rising 7 percent from last year to $1,904.

Why It's Important

Liebert was named CEO of AutoNation in February, and he said a good part of the heavy lifting in terms of investments in the business was completed prior to his arrival.

Within days of starting the new job, Liebert said he was active in visiting partners including Waymo, with which AutoNation has a relationship that dates back to 2017.

"We are very excited about where we are going," he said. 

What's Next

The state of the U.S. consumer was "very strong" in the first quarter, and the momentum should continue despite the prospect of higher oil and gas prices, Liebert told CNBC. 

Auto Nation shares were up 5.57 percent at $41.68 at the time of publication Friday. 

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