Automakers will have an easy time beating January 2014's dismal numbers when they report monthly car sales on Monday, but industry watchers should not discount the sector's strength, AutoNation's chairman and CEO told CNBC on Tuesday.
"The comparison is easy, but the message is clear. The auto industry is off and running to break through 17 million unit sales this year, and I think you'll see strong reports from all the manufacturers today," Mike Jackson said in a "Squawk Box" interview.
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AutoNation, the country's largest auto retailer, reported its best quarter in nearly 10 years on Monday as sales increased 20 percent from the same quarter last year. Earnings per share came in at $1.02 on revenue of $5 billion. Analysts had expected EPS of 91 cents and revenue of $4.9 billion.
New vehicle sales increased 9 percent in 2014, while used car sales jumped 5 percent.
As for discounting in the holiday season, incentives and promotions offered during end-of-year sales were "very reasonable," Jackson said.
"I don't see anybody doing anything extreme that's not sustainable, and the fundamental drivers for the auto sales remain strong," he said.