Automakers' gross sales statistics notwithstanding, it's not always easy to understand how car sales are stacking up in the real world. The nation's largest automotive retailer, AutoNation (NYSE:AN), knows, and on Monday, it announced its latest sales figures for new car sales in October.

According to the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based retailer, it moved 22,914 pieces of metal in October, 9% more than it sold in October 2012. Some of the growth came from new store openings, but same-store sales were also up -- 4% year over year.

Imported cars showed the weakest sales growth, which should be good news for America's Big Three automakers. AutoNation sold 10,744 imported cars in October, up 8% year over year.

Domestic cars outperformed that growth rate, even if the market for them was a bit smaller. All told, 7,003 domestic cars were sold -- 9% growth over October 2012 levels.

Finally, well-heeled consumers proved small in number, but freer with their dollars. AutoNation pushed 5,167 premium luxury cars off the lot last month, 13% more than a year ago.

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