|DEALER, PUBLICLY HELD: Mike Jackson, CEO, AutoNation Inc.|
Sales from AutoNationís sites are up, and those from third parties are down significantly. After Jackson walked away from what he described as the companyís most unprofitable business, AutoNationís new-car gross profits in the third quarter rose, bucking industry trends.
Itís been a busy year for the 66-year-old Jackson. After outspoken criticism of the industryís recall performance, Jackson in midsummer grounded AutoNation vehicles with open recalls. The industry-leading policy makes some dealers uncomfortable ó the National Automobile Dealers Association is not a fan. But though AutoNation is now buying an added 10,000 vehicles to bolster inventory, Jackson calls it the right thing to do for customers. And thatís not all: Jackson is finishing 2015 with a store acquisition binge bigger than any seen at AutoNation since its formative years. AutoNation has announced deals adding 33 stores and about $1.7 billion in annual revenue. And Jackson says the retailer could wind up busting through the $2 billion mark before year end.