US Economy

Stock declines create buying opportunities: AutoNation CEO

AutoNation CEO: Buy stocks because economy looks good

AutoNation chief Mike Jackson said Wednesday the stock market decline has been out of step with the sales strength seen in his showrooms.

Jackson told CNBC his company, the nation's largest auto dealer chain, had another good month in August.

"It's a very different picture," Jackson said in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"The fundamentals in the U.S. economy are pretty good at the moment," he added. "I'm in the camp that it's a buying opportunity at the moment in the equity markets if you're U.S.-focused."

U.S. automakers reported better-than-expected August sales—pushing the seasonally adjusted annualized rate to 17.8 million vehicles, the highest in 10 years.

Jackson believes auto sales should remain strong until "inflation rears its head" at some point, and the Federal Reserve increases interest rates above their historically normal levels in response.

When that happens, he said, "car sales will decline and housing sales will slow. That is as permanent as gravity. But I think that's a few years over the horizon."

With no real signs of price pressures, U.S. rates have been well below normal for years. But as the economy and labor market have been showing signs of improvement, the Fed is considering whether to raise rates from near zero percent for the first time since 2006.

Read More August job creation falls short of hopes: ADP

The debate among economists centers on whether an initial move could come as soon as the central bank's policy meeting later this month, later this year or wait until 2016.

A hike in September seemed a lock before concerns about China's economy sent the global financial markets in a tailspin.