FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — Despite a struggling economy and uncertainty surrounding which presidential candidate’s economic policies will drive the country, Americans still love their cars, and they are opening their wallets to prove it.

The nation’s largest car and truck retailer, Fort Lauderdale-based AutoNation, said Thursday that new vehicle sales rose 21 percent in its third quarter, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports.

“The consumer seems to be saying, regardless of who wins the election, the consequences of the fiscal cliff are so catastrophic, [Congress] is going to make a grand bargain,” AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told the paper Thursday morning.

Quarterly revenues were totaled $3.93 billion, up 12 percent from $3.51 billion a year ago, driven primarily by stronger retail new vehicle unit sales.

AutoNation’s retail new vehicle unit sales increased 21 percent.  Total U.S. industry retail new vehicle unit sales increased 15 percent, according to CNW Research data for the third quarter.

Net income from continuing operations was $82 million, or 66 cents a share, compared to net income from continuing operations of $71 million, or 48 cents a share, for the same period in 2011.

That follows record earnings in AutoNation’s second quarter.

“For once in my life I’m in the right industry at the right time in the right country. I love it,” Jackson said.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel contributed material for this story.


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