FORT LAUDERDALE (CBS4)- Sales are looking up for a South Florida-based dealership chain. Car dealer AutoNation Inc. said Monday its new vehicle sales rose 3 percent in June compared with the previous year, a smaller increase than the overall U.S. sales gain for the month.

The Fort Lauderdale company, the largest U.S. dealership chain, said it sold 16,564 new vehicles in June.

Overall, U.S. auto sales rose 7 percent in June versus to 1.05 million cars and trucks as lower gas prices lured some buyers.

AutoNation said its domestic sales increased 18 percent in June, premium luxury sales were up 11 percent from last year and import sales fell 9 percent.

Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. have been hit hardest by parts shortages from the March earthquake and tsunami. All three have been forced to cut factory production because they don’t have enough parts, although they are starting to rebound from the crisis.

Year to date, AutoNation said its new vehicle sales rose 10 percent, and second-quarter new vehicle sales fell one percent from the year-ago period.

AutoNation operates more than 250 dealerships in 15 states.


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