It’s getting more challenging to sell automobiles, and that signals the automobile enterprise is set to go into a length of decline, the departing CEO of the country’s largest automobile dealership chain stated Friday.

Sales of new cars are anticipated to maintain their downward slide considering that they hit file stages of 17.6 million units in 2016, AutoNation CEO Mike Jackson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box. ” He is looking ahead to 2019 income to be around sixteen. Eight million devices.

The downturn over the following few years could be some distance extra sluggish than the unexpected crumble seen about a decade ago for the duration of the financial crisis.

AutoNation stated earnings of $1.10 a share on Friday, missing Wall Street expectations, sending shares down four percent. The business enterprise’s inventory has fallen nearly 30 percentage in the final year.

Jackson is stepping down in March. He’ll be succeeded by using Carl Liebert, maximum currently a chief operating officer of USAA, a financial offerings business enterprise. Liebert additionally turned into a govt vice chairman at Home Depot.

During Jackson’s two decades on the helm, he helped remodel a small collection of dealerships into u . S .’s largest automobile retailing chain, weathering downturns within the system.

“As they are saying in ‘The Godfather,’ that is the life we chose,” Jackson said. “Autos is a cyclical enterprise. As some distance as traders is worried, I don’t care whether or not it’s a producer, dealer, retail; you don’t purchase the inventory on the stop of the cycle. But that still creates a whole lot of possibilities which we’ve taken benefit of through the years and have usually come out of downturns more potent than we went into them. And we intend to try this this time also.”

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