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AutoNation CEO: “Fat V” Recovery for Auto Sector

Thursday, 1 Apr 2010 | 1:26 PM ET

The automotive sector was handed major setbacks during the recession, but Mike Jackson, CEO of AutoNation, said the industry is in store for a “Fat V” recovery.

“We plunged from 16 million (vehicles sold) down to 10 million in two years, and it’s going to take us about four years to get back to 16 million,” Jackson explained.

AutoNation Cruisin' Ahead
Insight on March sales, with Mike Jackson, AutoNation chairman & CEO.

Jackson, who runs the largest chain of auto dealerships in the United States, added that March was an “excellent month” at the retail level.

“I think March is going to break through 12 million units,” he said.

He noted that 12 million is still a “depression-level number” but said the rise from last year’s sales is a confirmation of the recovery. He also said incentives would enhance March's sales results.

When asked about the performance of individual auto companies, Jackson said Ford continues to be “red hot.” He attributed this, in part, to the good will momentum the company accrued by not going bankrupt.

As for Toyota , he said the recalls would not be a deathblow to the company but said the event closed the perception gap about the domestics and Japanese cars as far as quality.

“This decade-long shift from the domestics to the Japanese is probably ending right now.”

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