Car dealer gives 92-year-old man a truck to celebrate milestone

Friday, 2 Aug 2013 | 12:30 PM ET
James Gordon, 92, received a free truck from AutoNation in celebration of the company's nine millionth vehicle sale.
James Gordon, 92, received a free truck from AutoNation in celebration of the company's nine millionth vehicle sale.

James Gordon never expected any fanfare after the 92-year-old small businessman walked out of a dealership near Sarasota, Fla., with his new pickup earlier this month.

But as it turned out, his purchase was a milestone for AutoNation—the nine millionth vehicle ever sold by the company since it was founded 22 years ago by billionaire H. Wayne Huizenga.

AutoNation CEO gives truck away live on CNBC
Mike Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation, ripped up the financing contract of his company's nine millionth vehicle sale live on Friday's "Squawk Box."

"It's a typical American story. [Gordon] is buying a Ford F-150 pickup truck because his business is improving and his old truck is worn out," AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson explained on"Squawk Box" Friday morning from the dealer in Bradenton, where the truck was sold.

"He financed it," Jackson continued, "and as a celebration of our nine millionth sale … I'm going to take the finance contract and rip it up. It's on us Mr. Gordon!"

Jackson then tore the contract into several pieces live on the air.

Gordon, owner of Gordon's Service Garage in nearby Palmetto, was also there and said, "I could have never expected [this] and feel so blessed."

(Read More: Hiring and firing: Who to keep and to cut from your small business)

"I have been running my garage for over 50 years," he added, "and appreciate my customers and the opportunity they give me each day."

AutoNation CEO gives a truck away on Squawk
Mike Jackson, AutoNation chairman & CEO, discusses the auto dealer's July sales numbers and reveals how the company intends to grow profits after reaching its 9 millionth vehicle mark.

Gordon's truck sale was part of a robust July for AutoNation, which sold more than 25,000 vehicles at its some 290 franchises across the country. That represents a 17 percent increase over the same month a year ago.

(Read More: Cheapest and most expensive cars to drive)

During the financial crisis in late 2008, shares of AutoNation were as low as $4-and-change. On Friday, the stock traded at all-time highs of over $49 a share.

—By CNBC's Matthew J. Belvedere. Follow him on Twitter @Matt_SquawkCNBC. CNBC Senior Talent Producer Lori Ann LaRocco contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter @loriannlarocco.

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