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AutoNation sales rise 12 percent in December as more buyers opt for luxury vehicles

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NEW YORK — AutoNation, the nation's largest car dealership chain, said Tuesday that sales rose 12 percent in December from the same month the year before, thanks to a jump in sales of premium luxury vehicles.

The company, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said it sold 33,069 new vehicles in December. Sales of premium luxury vehicles jumped 23 percent, while sales for domestic vehicles rose 11 percent and sales of imports rose 6 percent.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 10 percent last month from December 2013. That figure is considered an important measurement of a retailer's performance because it excludes results from stores that opened or closed within the last year.

For the full year, AutoNation said it sold 320,804 vehicles, up 8 percent from the year before. During the same period, sales at stores open at least a year rose 6 percent.

Shares of AutoNation Inc. slipped 18 cents to $59.03 in midday trading Tuesday.

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