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AutoNation, Inc. Reports Record Fourth Quarter, $0.21 Earnings per Share; Full-Year Earnings per Share Up 38% to $0.91

Feb. 08, 2001

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE: AN) today reported net income of $73.7 million, or $0.21 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2000, versus a loss of $403.1 million, or a loss of $1.02 per share, for the same period in 1999. For the year ended December 31, 2000, the company reported net income of $329.9 million, or $0.91 per share, a 38 percent increase versus $0.66 per share in full-year 1999.

Results in the quarter include one-time items resulting in a net gain of $0.04 per share, after taxes. Excluding one-time items, AutoNation earned $0.17 per share or $61.2 million in the fourth quarter, versus $0.10 per share or $40.6 million from continuing operations last year. Last year's reported results included pre-tax charges of $478.5 million related primarily to the closure of AutoNation's used vehicle megastores. The company said that results in the fourth quarter 2000 benefited from improved operating efficiencies, reductions in corporate overhead and the Company's share repurchase program, partially offset by higher floor-plan interest. Commenting on these fourth quarter results, AutoNation Chief Executive Officer Michael J. Jackson said, "We have reduced costs and improved operating efficiencies, generating a 50% improvement in net income from continuing operations and a 70% increase in earnings per share this quarter. This performance confirms the successful turnaround of AutoNation."

Revenue of $4.7 billion for the three months ended December 31, 2000, declined four percent versus the same period last year, excluding the impact of the Company's former used vehicle megastores. Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2000, increased seven percent to $20.6 billion compared with last year, excluding the impact of the used vehicle megastores. Mr. Jackson commented, "AutoNation delivered record operating income in the fourth quarter, despite the negative impact that a sudden downturn in auto sales had on revenue. This confirms that AutoNation is well positioned to perform in a challenging auto market."

Mr. Jackson noted that during the 12-month period, AutoNation generated more than $1.5 billion of vehicle sales via the Internet sales channel, making AutoNation the largest seller of vehicles online. He also said that in the 12-month period ended December 31, 2000, AutoNation generated $892 million of EBITDA. "We used our cash flow to repurchase 27.6 million shares during the year, to improve and upgrade many of our stores and to make acquisitions in selected markets," Mr. Jackson said.

Looking ahead to full-year 2001, Mr. Jackson said the automotive industry anticipates weaker demand for new vehicles, which AutoNation intends to offset by leveraging its used vehicle, parts and service and finance and insurance operations. "Even though new vehicle demand is expected to drop by about 10 percent, AutoNation's goal is to achieve earnings per share from continuing operations in the range of $0.85 to $0.90 per share. Our earnings estimate in the first quarter of 2001 is a range of $0.14 to $0.16 per share," Mr. Jackson said.

AutoNation will discuss its fourth quarter and full-year 2000 results, earnings outlook and supporting assumptions in a conference call and audio webcast on Thursday, February 8, 2001, at 11 a.m. Eastern time. To listen to the call, dial 1-800-230-1074 or log on to www.autonation.com and click on the "Visit Our Corporate Site" icon. A playback of the conference call will be available after 2:30 p.m., February 8, 2001, through February 15, 2001, by dialing 1-800-475-6701, access code 563010, or by visiting the "Audio Presentations" section of the Investor Relations page at AutoNation's corporate site.

AutoNation, Inc., headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is America's largest automotive retailer, on and off the Web. AutoNation employs approximately 35,000 people and owns and operates more than 400 automotive retail franchises in 17 states. The Company ranked #63 on the 2000 Fortune 500 and was ranked America's "Most Admired Automotive Retailer" in 2000, also by Fortune magazine. Additional information is available at www.AutoNation.com.

Certain statements and information included in this release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Federal Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Additional discussion of factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from management's projections, estimates and expectations is contained in the Company's SEC filings. The Company undertakes no duty to update its forward- looking statements, including its earnings outlook.

                                AUTONATION, INC.
            UNAUDITED CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
                       (In millions, except per share data)

                                     Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
                                        December 31,         December 31,
                                       2000      1999      2000       1999
                                                 (a)                   (a)


       Revenue                       $4,701.8  $5,019.8  $20,609.6  $20,111.8

       Cost of operations             3,982.8   4,308.6   17,577.1   17,183.2

       Gross margin                     719.0     711.2    3,032.5    2,928.6

       Selling, general and
        administrative expenses         527.3     623.4    2,177.7    2,279.4
       Depreciation                      12.3      16.7       54.7       60.1
       Amortization                      20.4      18.4       79.1       62.9
       Restructuring and impairment
        charges (income), net            (1.6)    416.4       (3.8)     416.4

       Operating income                 160.6    (363.7)     724.8      109.8

       Floorplan interest expense       (53.0)    (40.9)    (199.8)    (125.2)
       Other interest expense, net       (8.9)     (8.0)     (33.4)     (14.3)
       Other income (expense)            19.3      (2.6)      33.4        2.2

       Income from continuing
        operations before income
        taxes                           118.0    (415.2)     525.0      (27.5)

       Provision for income taxes        44.3    (135.6)     196.9        4.0

       Net income from continuing
        operations                       73.7    (279.6)     328.1      (31.5)

       Income from discontinued
        operations,
          net of income taxes and
           minority interest              ---    (123.5)       1.8      314.4

       Net income                       $73.7   $(403.1)    $329.9     $282.9



       Diluted earnings per share:
           Continuing operations        $0.21    $(0.71)     $0.91     $(0.07)
           Discontinued operations        ---     (0.31)      0.00       0.73
           Net income                   $0.21    $(1.02)     $0.91      $0.66

       Weighted average common and
        common
            equivalent shares
             outstanding                355.7     394.9      361.4      429.8

       Common shares outstanding        348.1     375.4      348.1      375.4

(a) Floorplan interest, depreciation expense and amortization expense have

        been reclassified in prior periods to be comparative with the current
        periods as the Company has changed the manner in which it presents
        this information.



                              AUTONATION, INC.
                        UNAUDITED SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
                                (In millions)

                                          Three Months Ended December 31,
                                            2000      %      1999      %

Operating Highlights:

    Revenue:
        New vehicle                       $2,832.2   60.2  $2,981.0   59.4
        Used vehicle                         865.2   18.4   1,007.4   20.1
        Fixed operations                     571.5   12.2     579.8   11.5
        F&I                                  100.6    2.1     104.6    2.1
        Other                                332.3    7.1     347.0    6.9
                                          $4,701.8  100.0  $5,019.8  100.0

    Gross margin:
        New vehicle                         $251.0    8.9    $255.4    8.6
        Used vehicle                          97.6   11.3      75.2    7.4
        Fixed operations                     246.7   43.2     246.0   42.4
        F&I                                  100.6  100.0     104.6  100.0
        Other                                 23.1    7.0      30.0    8.6
                                             719.0   15.3     711.2   14.1

     S,G&A - Store                           491.6   10.5     563.4   11.2
     Store performance                       227.4    4.8     147.8    2.9

    S,G&A - Corporate                         31.7    0.6      60.0    1.2
    S,G&A - Property carrying costs            4.0    0.1       ---    ---
    Depreciation                              12.3    0.3      16.7    0.3
    Amortization                              20.4    0.4      18.4    0.3
    Asset impairment, net                     (1.6)  (0.0)    416.4    8.3
    Operating income                        $160.6    3.4   $(363.7)  (7.2)


                              AUTONATION, INC.
                        UNAUDITED SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
                                (In millions)

                                           Twelve Months Ended December 31,
                                            2000       %      1999       %

Operating Highlights:

    Revenue:
        New vehicle                       $12,489.3   60.6  $11,481.0   57.1
        Used vehicle                        3,860.2   18.7    4,429.7   22.0
        Fixed operations                    2,334.9   11.3    2,222.0   11.1
        F&I                                   431.8    2.1      423.4    2.1
        Other                               1,493.4    7.3    1,555.7    7.7
                                          $20,609.6  100.0  $20,111.8  100.0

    Gross margin:
        New vehicle                        $1,056.0    8.5     $962.3    8.4
        Used vehicle                          438.6   11.4      449.6   10.1
        Fixed operations                      999.7   42.8      933.8   42.0
        F&I                                   431.8  100.0      423.4  100.0
        Other                                 106.4    7.1      159.5   10.3
                                            3,032.5   14.7    2,928.6   14.6

     S,G&A - Store                          2,021.6    9.8    2,089.4   10.4
     Store performance                      1,010.9    4.9      839.2    4.2

    S,G&A - Corporate                         125.2    0.6      190.0    1.0
    S,G&A - Property carrying costs            30.9    0.1        ---    ---
    Depreciation                               54.7    0.3       60.1    0.3
    Amortization                               79.1    0.4       62.9    0.3
    Asset impairment, net                      (3.8)  (0.0)     416.4    2.1
    Operating income                         $724.8    3.5     $109.8    0.5


                        Three Months Ended          Twelve Months Ended
                          December 31,                  December 31,
                           2000      1999             2000            1999

    Retail vehicle
     sales:
          New            107,000    116,000         489,000           469,000
          Used            56,000     69,000         255,000           315,000
                         163,000    185,000         744,000           784,000

    Gross margin per
     vehicle retailed:
          New             $2,346    $2,202          $2,160            $2,052
          Used            $1,743    $1,090          $1,720            $1,427
          F&I              $617       $565            $580              $540


    Capital expenditures   $65.3    $73.8            $148.2            $242.3


    Balance Sheet and
     Other Highlights:              December 31, 2000        December 31, 1999
       Cash and cash
        equivalents                       $82.2                    $218.6
       Inventory                        2,769.2                   2,706.8
       Floorplan debt                   2,416.7                   2,210.6
       Long-term credit
        facility                          615.0                     669.0
       Equity                           3,860.2                   4,601.2
       Days supply
       (trailing 30 days):
              New                       83 days                   79 days
              Used                      43 days                   58 days



                             AUTONATION, INC.
                        UNAUDITED SAME STORE DATA
                              (In millions)

                                         Three Months Ended December 31,
                                           2000      %      1999      %

    Revenue:
                New vehicle              $2,684.1   60.6  $2,860.0   61.1
                Used vehicle                820.3   18.5     841.4   18.0
                Fixed operations            532.6   12.0     534.7   11.4
                F&I                          94.7    2.1      92.6    2.0
                Other                       300.7    6.8     349.5    7.5
                                         $4,432.4  100.0  $4,678.2  100.0

    Gross margin:
                New vehicle                $238.4    8.9    $245.5    8.6
                Used vehicle                 92.0   11.2      86.5   10.3
                Fixed operations            230.6   43.3     227.3   42.5
                F&I                          94.7  100.0      92.6  100.0
                Other                        19.4    6.5      26.9    7.7
                                            675.1   15.2     678.8   14.5


     S,G&A - Store                          454.1   10.2     479.1   10.2

    Store performance                      $221.0    5.0    $199.7    4.3


    Retail vehicle sales:
                   New                    101,000          114,000
                   Used                    53,000           58,000
                                          154,000          172,000

    Gross margin per vehicle retailed:
                   New                     $2,360           $2,154
                   Used                    $1,736           $1,491
                   F&I                       $615             $538


                             AUTONATION, INC.
                        UNAUDITED SAME STORE DATA
                              (In millions)

                                          Twelve Months Ended December 31,
                                           2000       %      1999       %

    Revenue:
                New vehicle              $10,636.9   61.5  $10,405.8   60.5
                Used vehicle               3,167.1   18.3    3,260.2   19.0
                Fixed operations           1,947.2   11.3    1,904.9   11.1
                F&I                          362.8    2.1      344.1    2.0
                Other                      1,192.0    6.8    1,284.8    7.4
                                         $17,306.0  100.0  $17,199.8  100.0

    Gross margin:
                New vehicle                 $894.1    8.4     $875.0    8.4
                Used vehicle                 362.2   11.4      360.1   11.0
                Fixed operations             830.2   42.6      799.0   41.9
                F&I                          362.8  100.0      344.1  100.0
                Other                         76.4    6.4      113.6    8.8
                                           2,525.7   14.6    2,491.8   14.5


     S,G&A - Store                         1,663.4    9.6    1,691.4    9.8

    Store performance                       $862.3    5.0     $800.4    4.7




    Retail vehicle sales:
                   New                     420,000           428,000
                   Used                    212,000           231,000
                                           632,000           659,000

    Gross margin per vehicle retailed:
                   New                      $2,129            $2,044
                   Used                     $1,708            $1,559
                   F&I                        $574              $522

SOURCE AutoNation, Inc.

CONTACT: Jim Donahue of AutoNation, 954-769-7208/

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