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Autonation Inc (NYSE:AN)
Q3 2020 Earnings Call
Oct 21, 2020, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the AutoNation Third Quarter 2020 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions]

I would now like to turn the call over to Robert Quartaro, VP of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Robert Quartaro -- Investor Relations

Thank you. Good morning and welcome to AutoNation's third quarter 2020 conference call and webcast.

Leading our call today will be Mike Jackson, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Joe Lower, our Chief Financial Officer. Following their remarks, we will open up the call for questions. I will be available by phone following the call to address any additional questions that you may have.

Before we begin, let me read our brief statement regarding forward-looking comments. Certain statements and information on this call, including any statements regarding our anticipated financial results and objectives, 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 that may cause our actual results or performance to differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Additional discussions of factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially are contained in our press release issued earlier today and our SEC filings, including our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.

And now I'll turn the call over to AutoNation's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mike Jackson.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us today.

AutoNation's third quarter results were the best ever in the Company's history. We reported an all-time record quarter adjusted EPS from continuing operations of $2.38, an increase of 102% compared to last year. In the third quarter, we saw solid demand and a strong pricing environment due to low interest rates and increased interest in vehicle ownership from consumers. With the higher demand and tight inventory, we adjusted pricing and we were able to improve our margins.

New vehicle inventory remains tight, and we expect it will remain tight into '21. For the quarter, same store total variable gross profit per vehicle retailed increased $966 or 28% compared to the prior year. Same-store new vehicle gross profit per vehicle retailed increased $914 or 56%, and same-store used vehicle gross profit per vehicle retail increased $602 or 43% compared to prior year. With our continue focused on our We will Buy Your Car initiative, we more than doubled the number of vehicles we source compared to last quarter. Approximately 75% of the pre-owned units retailed are acquired from customers. For the third quarter, we acquired over 12,000 units, with We'll Buy Your Car, and we're currently sourcing over 4,000 units a month to both supplement our inventory as well as reduce our average used vehicle acquisition cost.

During the third quarter, we continued to leverage our digital capabilities to drive cost reductions and increase efficiency for the business's long-term success. These efforts, combined with our strong gross profit growth, drove significant SG&A leverage in the quarter. Adjusted SG&A as a percentage of gross profit was 64.4% in the third quarter of 2020, representing a 800 basis point improvement compared to the third quarter of 2019. We are committed to operating below 68% SG&A as percent of gross profit on a long-term basis.

Our AutoNation USA stores delivered another profitable quarter. The continued growth and strong execution at these stores solidified our decision to move forward with the AutoNation USA expansion announced in the second quarter. We plan to build over 100 AutoNation USA pre-owned stores, with over 50 completed by the end of 2025. Our plan includes five new AutoNation US stores to be opened by the end of '21. The AutoNation USA expansion will include extending AutoNation's coast to coast footprint into new markets, with our first new stores to open in Austin and San Antonio in '21. These stores will continue to leverage the AutoNation brand and its proven processes for competitive advantage. With this expansion, we have set the long-term goal of selling over 1 million combined new and used retail units per year. Additional information regarding our AutoNation USA stores mentioned can be found in the third quarter 2020 earnings presentation on our Investor Relations website.

I will now turn the call over to Joe, our Chief Financial Officer.

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Mike, and good morning, everybody.

As Mike just highlighted, today we reported adjusted net income from continuing operations of $212 million or $2.38 per share versus $106 million or $1.18 per share during the third quarter of 2019. This represents a 102% increase on a per share basis. Third quarter 2020 adjusted results exclude charges of $28 million after-tax or $0.31 per share associated with the previously announced exit of our aftermarket collision parts business and an unrealized loss of $2 million after-tax or $0.02 per share associated with our equity investment in Vroom.

During the third quarter, same-store revenue was in line with the prior year as increases in used vehicle and customer financial services revenue were offset by declines in sales of new vehicles and customer care. High supply of new vehicles continued to limit sales volumes, and lower miles driven has limited the pace of customer care recovery. That said, we continued to execute in an extremely high level during the quarter, with adjusted same store gross profit increasing 13% year-over-year. Recovering demand, coupled with limited new vehicle supply, drove strong margins, with same store total PVRs up $966 or 28% compared to the prior year. We were also able to grow our same-store used unit sales, which were up 3% year-over-year as we successfully met strong demand with trade-in volume and inventory sourced through our We'll Buy Your Car program. Looking ahead, we expect the rebalancing of volume and vehicle margins as inventories recover next year.

Our customer care business also continues to gradually improve. Adjusted same store customer care gross profit declined 2% in the quarter compared to the prior year.

Moving to costs. And, as Mike highlighted, adjusted SG&A as a percentage of gross profit was 64.4% for the third quarter, which represents an 800 basis point improvement compared to the year-ago period. This impressive performance was driven by the combination of strong cost discipline, leverage of our digital capabilities and healthy vehicle margins. Looking ahead, we remain committed to maintaining expense discipline, and we continue to target operating below 68% SG&A as a percentage of gross profit. A decline in floor plan interest expense also benefited our results. Floor plan interest expense decreased to $11 million compared to $33 million in the third quarter of 2019 due to both lower interest rates and lower average floor plan balances. This, combined with lower non-vehicle interest expense, a slightly lower effective tax rate and fewer shares outstanding, generated adjusted EPS from continuing operations of $2.38, up 102%.

Moving to the balance sheet and liquidity. Our cash balance at quarter-end was $351 million, which, combined with our additional borrowing capacity, resulted in total liquidity of $2.4 billion at the end of September. Our covenant leverage ratio of debt to EBITDA declined to 2.0 times at the end of the third quarter, down from 2.3 times at the end of the second quarter. Including cash and used floor plan availability, our net leverage ratio was 1.4 times at quarter-end.

Looking ahead, we will continue our disciplined capital allocation strategy, utilizing our strong balance sheet, robust cash flow generation and ample liquidity to invest in our business and drive long-term shareholder value. To this end, today we are providing additional details regarding the expansion of our AutoNation USA footprint, leveraging our established brand and proven success to further penetrate the attractive used vehicle market. Our AutoNation USA stores require upfront capital investment of about $10 million to $11 million per store, and we expect to build at least 50 additional stores by the end of 2025. Our AutoNation USA expansion is an exciting growth driver, with each store expected to earn a pre-tax profit of almost $2.5 million annually, once running at initial run rate. In addition, today we announced that our Board of Directors has increased our share repurchase authorization to $500 million.

I will now turn the call back over to Mike.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Joe.

Throughout this pandemic, AutoNation has remained committed to our associates and communities we live and work in. 2020 marks the fifth anniversary of our DRIVE PINK initiative. Our associates, our customers and our partners have helped AutoNation reach a tremendous milestone of raising and contributing over $25 million in the fight against cancer. I want to thank our associates for all their efforts as we drive toward the next $25 million. I'm excited by the opportunities there are in front us. We have built an industry-leading brand, and we're the largest and most recognized automotive retailer. We will capitalize on our strategic advantages.

And we look forward to now taking your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Your first question comes from Rajat Gupta with JPMorgan. Your line is open.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for -- thanks for taking my questions. And also congrats -- congrats on a very strong quarter.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Yeah. I just had a question on the gross margins, just to start with that. I mean, clearly, like these levels do not -- do not seem to be sustainable longer term. Firstly, do you agree with that? And then, when can we expect these levels to start moderating? Are you already starting to see that here early in the fourth quarter or do you expect this to happen sometime like middle of next year or first quarter next year? Any clarity on that would be helpful, and I have a follow-up.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Absolutely. Absolutely. So there has been a significant shift toward individual mobility as a result of the pandemic and shelter in place. And this has increased demand across the board from pre-owned through new in every segment. This individual retail demand is lasting and will continue for the next several years. We do not have the inventory on the new side or on the pre-owned side to meet the demand that's out there. So we've adjusted pricing to balance the situation.

Now, we expect availability to improve next year. Fourth quarter, we don't see any improvement in the pipeline whatsoever, but I think first quarter and then the second quarter next year, I think it will happen. However, the way to think about it is, we're leaving at the moment a significant volume opportunity that can't be realized because of inventory restrictions. Therefore, we adjusted pricing.

So then we'll manage it as it goes the other way, that, when availability improves, I fully expect this individual demand to still be there. Interest rates are going to be supportive of auto sales and housing industry for the next several years. I don't see any change there. So we're bullish and optimistic about overall auto retail. The keyword there is auto retail within the total auto industry.

I'm not commenting about fleet and what happens over there. So that's not my specialty. But I can tell you when it comes to auto retail and people buying individual cars, both pre-owned and new, the demand is exceptionally strong. It outstrips supply, and therefore our volume opportunities are restricted and therefore we adjusted on the pricing side, and we will just -- when that day comes, we will just manage it back in the other direction, but we will be selling more units.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Got it. So it seems like you're suggesting that you might be -- you might be moving toward a slightly higher gross profit per unit level on both new and used just -- just structurally just given how strong demand is expected to be. Is that -- is that fair?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think that's fair. It's not going to be what it is right this moment, but just like on the cost side, where we've, with our digital efforts, have gotten to a new cost basis and that's a couple of years -- several years under way, and we've publicly committed to run below 68%. So there is -- there is -- for this foreseeable future, there is higher retail demand, there is lower interest rates and we're on a better cost basis, and we're more productive and efficient.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Got it. [Speech Overlap] helpful.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Within that -- within that, there are certain shifts that we'll have to manage, and we will.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Right, right. Just as this follow-up, on the AutoNation USA plan, the detail in the slide deck is really helpful. So, you talked about achieving a $2.4 million initial run rate. Could you give us a sense of like what you're expecting these stores to run at just from a maturity perspective? Like what's the -- what's the long-term potential within like these individual stores? I'm assuming it's higher than the $2.4 million. Any color on that would be helpful.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So at $2.4 million, it's an outstanding internal rate of return, and one of the best investments we can make at a company leveraging on our brand, our pre-owned one price process, and the way that we think about these USA stores is very much as point of sale delivery centers and speed to market reconditioning centers. It's very cost effective rather than moving everything around and doing the reconditioning centrally. Our speed to market is -- is a real strength. So what we're saying and what we're publically committing to is this number, which we're already achieving today as well above our return threshold of 15% internal rate of return, and therefore that's what we went public with. Obviously, we're ambitious and a continuous improvement organization, and ultimately we will see if we can do more. But as far as a green light to build another 100 stores, we're there.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Got it. Got it. That's helpful. Sorry, just one last one from me on the SG&A side. Just looking at like the dollar amount of the SG&A, it looks -- it went up significantly from the second quarter to the third quarter, and looks like it's only slightly down year-over-year, say, like a couple of percent. But based on what you've announced in the past around like 3,500 to 4,000 permanent reduction, it seems like the dollar number for the SG&A should have been a little lower than that. Just curious as to like -- it's like all those -- this is like a good run rate to use or there is still more cost cutting measures that are in place that are fully not reflected on the SG&A side yet. That would be all. Thanks so much.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Of course, the issue is that total gross is significantly higher than a year ago. And we are a commission-based system, so just with that generating the higher gross, we have higher commissions by definition. The challenge is really to pay out -- to be more efficient in total and have a lower percentage of payout, so SG&A as a percent of gross to go down. I don't want to restrict improving or increase in the total amount of gross. But why don't you give a little color on that, Joe, please?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Thanks, Mike. So when you think about that -- and to kind of elaborate what Mike said, so you had $105 million improvement year-over-year in gross and actually a reduction in SG&A of almost $5 million. So you generate 800 basis points of improvement year-over-year. And if you look, you talked about heads -- and heads are about 15% lower than they were at the beginning of the year. That flows through compensation, obviously, and [Technical Issues] is down. If you break down that 800 basis points, compensation was down about 330 basis points year-over-year; advertising continues to work down, is about -- down about 120 basis points year-over-year; and store comp and overhead, so the three buckets I outlined last quarter, down 360 basis points. So we've continued to leverage the digital capabilities and the sales process. So like Mike said, with a significantly higher gross and elements of variable pay, despite having 15% fewer employees, you are going to see some pressure on SG&A total dollars as a percentage of gross, dramatic improvement.

And just to go back to your question on gross. I think there are two other elements I just want to highlight as you think about that. One, you talked about vehicle pricing, but recognize, another significant contributor is CFS, which has continued to improve year-over-year. And a second component I'd highlight is fixed gross, which is still recovering; on adjusted basis, down just 2%. But I do believe as people continue to increase the usage of vehicles, we'll continue to see that recover, and that should be a tailwind on a comparative basis.

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Understood. Thanks -- thanks for all the color. And good luck.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Rick Nelson with Stephens. Your line is open.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning, Rick.

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning, Mike. Just to follow up on the last discussion. As we look out to 2021, as supplies normalize, you give back on PPU, SG&A presumably widens, do you think you can grow in an environment like that? And so what would be the growth drivers?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe, he's done a lot of work on that.

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So when you say growth drivers, you're talking about top line, correct?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Talking revenue or what?

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

[Speech Overlap] on the income statement.

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. So let's think in terms of gross. I think from a growth perspective, I think we just addressed, I think you are going to see a rebalancing which we recognize and will address again. I think continued benefit in areas like CFS and fixed gross will all continue to drive the gross profit. We really have adopted a very different mindset regarding costs, so now you get down into the cost lines, and with the commitment to keep the headcount low -- again, I mentioned we're 15% down beginning of the year, I see that will continue to have leverage. We are committed to operate below 68%, and I think we're going to continue to see an advantage when it comes to the cost of floor plan, which has been a benefit. And I think as Mike highlighted earlier, we see interest rates staying low for some sustained period of time.

And when you couple longer-term, the USA expansion, I think that complements the existing franchise growth. And I would highlight, if you go all the way down to EPS. We've announced this morning increase in authorization of share repurchase, which, if you will think about operating leverage and financial leverage, we're thinking about that in totality to drive ultimately down to growing EPS year-over-year.

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

Got you. Thanks. That's helpful. So GPUs, that we're seeing here in 3Q, do you think those carrying into the fourth quarter? I know seasonally you do more premium luxury, which bring higher GPUs, but on a like-for-like basis, do you think they maintain?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Rick, we see no change in -- significant change in inventory levels or the demand level in the fourth quarter. I think it's -- I think we're into next year before inventory start to move. That's our sense.

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

Yeah. Great. Okay. And then finally, if I could ask on the AutoNation USA side. A big change in store growth outlook. I'm curious what's driving the confidence and what do you think is unique about the AutoNation USA model compared to competitive formats.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's very interesting. We opened five pilot stores and committed to stop and hand them perfected before we committed to a big rollout. And we were really disciplined and took the time and the efforts to get those stores just right. And I would say, we had a lot of new ideas as far as customer process going into the USA stores that we put in place, and over time we realized that the processes we already have in our AutoNation stores are world-class and what the customers really embrace and like. So we actually transformed our USA stores and all its processes, digital marketing, everything, to standard USA that we -- standard AutoNation which we use and they made a huge difference in taking out cost and being effective. We also have confidence that the brand can move into new markets and be embraced by customers. So, with a very good outlook on understanding what we did right and what we did wrong, I use the expression, we paid our tuition, gives us a great deal confidence to go forward.

Within all that, you also have what I talked about before, that there has definitely been a shift in consumer mindset toward personal mobility rather than shared mobility. And interest rates are coming down, not going up, and interest rates are going to be low as far as I can see next several years. So you put that all together, and it's clearly an opportunity that's ready to be embraced, and we have to figure it out. We're already confident, and off we go.

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

Okay. Thanks for all the color. Great quarter. And good luck as we push forward.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from John Murphy with Bank of America. Your line is open.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Good morning, guys. Sort of a first question, Michael, on strategy. I mean -- and when we look at the line in the press release of retailing over 1 million new and used units ultimately as the goal, I'm just curious -- it seems like you're not doing a lot of new dealership acquisitions at the moment. So if we kind of hold that reasonably static and assume you get to 1 to 1 on new and used in your dealerships, it looks like AutoNation USA would be about a third of your volume. So it's almost like new is about a third of your -- that volume; used in your dealerships is about a third of that volume; and AutoNation's about -- the AutoNation USA stores are about a third of the volume. I'm just curious if that's about right. And if we think about how you position the used units in your franchise stores versus what's in AutoNation USA, how do you differentiate those two? And are they kind of competing forces and how does that work over time as it gets very big?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So, they're very different in the sense that, in a new vehicle store, you know, it says AutoNation. Let's say, it's a Chevrolet new vehicle store. Yeah, the average price point in that store for new vehicle is $40,000, and you combine that with the pre-owned business that that store is doing. Our average retail unit is around $30,000, something like that. And our price point in a USA-store, which is strictly pre-owned, is $20,000. The other thing is the USA store -- whereas people have a singular focus on, say, Chevy, going into an AutoNation Chevy store, the USA store is universal. We sell everything at a different price point.

And the other thing we've learned is on we'll Buy Your Car. The USA store is much more approachable, and the customer doesn't feel they're going to be confronted about buying a new car and are very comfortable to come in and sell us their car. And we have an industry-leading process where we give them a check within an hour of the car coming in and being appraised. So that's really quite remarkable. And the fact that we have a centralized shared resource center in Texas makes all that possible that we're able to do that at lightning speed. Again, it's part of our technical capability.

So, as far as growth for the future, I mean, it's really a capital allocation journey. I mean, we're going to generate remarkable amounts of capital, and we're going to apply them to building these USA stores. We're going to do some new vehicle franchise acquisitions where appropriate with good return. And as announced, we're very open to share repurchase. We think there is an -- an opportunity here. And so, if you put all those together, it's a pretty compelling vision and strategy going forward. Joe, you're Chief Strategy Officer also. Did I miss anything in your story?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, I think you communicated it very effectively. And it's a balanced approach that we're taking to it. and it's very thoughtful. So, well-said.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

I mean, maybe if I could just follow up, though. As you do more retailing online as customer gets more comfortable with that, I mean, is there any reason that the inventory at the AutoNation USA stores as well as your franchise stores can all be included in a single portal to drive a better offering or wider offering to the customer?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It is -- we're there already. Correct, Joe?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Correct.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

That's done. That's done. You go to autonation.com.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Yeah.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's all there.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Okay. Got it. [Indecipherable] I mean, everybody is talking about SG&A, but what portion of it is variable, just so we can -- is there a rough rule of thumb we can use there, so go forward, we can -- we can maybe estimate that better?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Maybe half. Maybe half is probably -- if you're using a rough estimate.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Got it. And then, Mike, just lastly on the demand recovery here. I agree with you. It seems like there was some incremental stickiness to this demand recovery. And I'm just curious, as you look at the release of some of the pent-up demand from the crisis months of -- we've actually been through for a while now, but the last couple of months, as you look at the 16.2 [Phonetic] that we saw in September, do you think if you had a lot more inventory, you could have sold significantly more? And is there any potential for a couple of months of payback before we rebase and the cycle really takes off or do you think we are in takeoff mode for that -- the cycle for the next three to five years, what is -- kind of what it seems like?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I don't think this is a pent-up demand from the shelter in place, although there is probably some of that there someplace. But this is really a fundamental shift in demand toward individual mobility. Now, you have to be careful when you focus on the total SAAR that includes fleet because that number is going to be impacted by the fact that people aren't traveling, the rental car business is down, how there's various businesses, what they're doing with their fleet. So I'm not talking about the top line SAAR. I'm laser-focused on the retail selling rate, and that is significantly restricted at the moment due to availability. And as availability improves in first quarter, second quarter of next year, you'll see that number be positive. So I think we're past the, whatever you want to call it, snap-back, pent-up demand, no. These are -- and here's the way to think about it.

I know everybody says, well, what's with the overall economy. What's happening here is a reorientation and prioritization of the household budget, OK? And what the -- what the American people are saying and doing is, you know what, I want to move away from density, I want more space at home, I may be working more at home in the future than I thought I would be, and by the way, I want to be -- I love the independence of deciding when I move around and how I move around, and I'm not real excited to get back on public transportation. And this is across all price points from a $5,000 pre-owned up to a premium luxury car. We are hearing this all day long.

Now, I fully say the fact that we have very attractive interest rates is a multiplier effect on this reorientation of the household budget, but that's the priority in the households today. So there's a lot of things they're not spending money on and one -- two things they're definitely spending money on is spending more time in the home and where that home is and how it is and how they get about. And so for auto retail, those are two very positive, optimistic developments for the next several years.

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Completely agree. Thank you very much for the time.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Excellent. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Adam Jonas with Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Hey, Mike. I have a question about your digital fulfillment. Can you tell us either -- and I assume the number is very, very low, but what percentage of your used vehicle sales, for example, are completely digitally fulfilled, meaning little or no touch at all between the consumer and the dealer?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

In our retail location? Joe?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

It's a low percentage. We could -- and that's where the consumer is happiest. They want to choose to do as much as they want digitally, and then at a certain point, they want to engage with a delivery center, and -- or we deliver to them. So we [Speech Overlap]

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

[Speech Overlap]

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

So if I assume -- if I assume less than 1%, is that...

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I'll say low single digits. It's low single digits.

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Okay. And -- I'm just curious, Mike. Have you -- I'm sure you have, but I'd love to know, assuming that you've used the Carvana website to buy a car to see how it works. What do you think of that user experience? So it's not a question about the business model or the valuation or anything like that, although I'm sure -- we'd all like their multiple. But what do you think of their user experience for used car purchase and/or sale? And as you roll out AutoNation USA, kind of how is this going to be different?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think -- I think it's -- I think it's a very good experience. However, ours is better, and reputational scores -- and Joe, maybe you have them there. And the net promoter scores of AutoNation are industry-leading. So we have a great experience, and we found the right one line and we let the consumer decide where that line is. So what I can tell you is where the consumer is happiest is right where AutoNation is. And we fully originate 45% of our business through the digital channel, and then at some point there is a crossover, and we let the customer decide where that crossover is. And we give them a fabulous experience from that crossover, and they can move seamlessly back and forth and our reputational scores and our net promoter scores.

So that's exactly where the consumer is, and we are -- we now have a robust platform that's capable to move wherever the consumer wants to go as far as where that line gets strong. But this leads into the decision as to why we're building USA stores, because the customer wants a delivery center, they want a place to go to complete the transaction.

And another benefit is our reconditioning costs are significantly lower and our speed to market is significantly higher by being close to the market and rather than moving everything around multiple times. Because we also care about making money at the end of the day. That's another expectation we have. We have a double expectation unlike the customers, sell a lot of vehicles and make money. And so it's -- that's a harder, more arduous place to get, and we're there, and that's why we're going to go out and build 100 USA stores.

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

That's great, Mike. And just one -- one last one from me on kind of culture and incentives between the digital initiatives that you are investing heavily and accelerating in over the years to come and then the kind of legacy stores or the legacy operation where your -- your investment and people and systems might -- were more in the brick and mortar side. So to the extent that you move to omnichannel, how do you overcome what could be some conflict between the corporate digital initiative for omnichannel to get the returns for shareholders in the same store and all those efficiencies, how do you make it -- how do you incentivize the GMs at the brick and mortar stores to be truly channel-agnostic so that they kind of don't care whether you come in and generate a commission and in-store sale versus if it's totally touch-less online? Thank you.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Yes, it was a huge, complex, cultural challenge for us to go through to create an AutoNation experience with an omnichannel. So we went through a significant investment period. As I announced, we went through a significant brand extension period. As announced, it was difficult, disruptive, painful and required perseverance to get through it, and we paid our tuition and we climbed the mountain, and now we're on the other side of the mountain. And it's a great place to be.

And some of the tells of what we really did is, if you look at the fact that we one-priced all pre-owned across the entire enterprise. And we don't care whether it's in a traditional new car dealership or in a USA store. It's one price. It's appraised, acquired by the Company and priced centrally. We have the -- we've built the technical capability to one-price all our inventory for pre-owned across the entire enterprise. So that's an example of how we've dealt with this issue. And now, running a USA store within the AutoNation management system is something that people aspire to do, whereas before, it was the glamor new car business. Still important to us, but now just as important is the excitement of running a AutoNation USA store. So I'm happy to say that while we will continue to invest in digital and technical capability, it will not require the same level of investment and cost that we've had in the past years because we've built it, it works and now we just enhance it from this time forward.

But we have a central understanding of 9 million customers. That is, you're taking your daughter after school and you buy her a car in California and then the following week you're back here in Miami and you walk into one of our dealerships, we know exactly what you did the previous week with your daughter out in California. And if you come into service in New York and then you have a house in Florida, we know exactly -- we know the entirety of your relationship and your history with AutoNation and everything that happens, what your preferences are and what is the likelihood of what you're going to buy next and think is next and we proactively market to that. And it's completely changed our marketing cost, it's completely changed the productivity of our sales people, and so we're really on a new basis. And I guess the key point, we did it on an enterprise basis. It's not two cultures, it's not two companies. It's one company, one brand.

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thanks, Mike.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from Bret Jordan with Jefferies. Your line is open.

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, guys.

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

On the We Will Buy strategy, I guess could you talk to us about what percentage of the cars that you're buying that are young and healthy enough to turn around and resell? And I guess, whether there is any trend and negative equity that's preventing the vehicle owner from converting? And then, I guess I'll ask my follow-up question at the same time. Are you seeing, given this demand for personal mobility, a reduction in volumes, folks not coming into sell you their car because they want to keep them?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe, you want to take that?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So from a procurement standpoint, I generally think of, from a used standpoint, between 60 -- depends on the franchise or USA store, I'd say between 60% to 75% of our cars, and I'll give you detail, are acquired from customers. So we have a much lower dependency on auctions and whatnot. If you look at -- if you look at We'll Buy Your Car, it ranges from 10% to 20%. It's higher in USA, so almost 20% of our cars at USA are procured from Well Buy Your Car. It's a lower percentage, understandably, and the franchise is probably 10%. But that gives us a significant advantage from a procurement standpoint. If you compare it to the peers, I don't see anyone close to that percentage of customers actually -- pardon me -- cars acquired from customers, which clearly is a benefit to us when we think through the value proposition we can offer our customers. Does that help kind of understand the...

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Yeah, it does. And I guess are you seeing any trends that negative equities preventing people from selling to you when they -- when they want to?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

We haven't yet seen...

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Nothing out of the ordinary -- nothing out of the ordinary.

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. But we continue -- sorry -- month over month, we continue to find continued growth in the program. So we haven't faced that obstacle.

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Okay. And then I guess the question on mobility demand. Are you seeing -- and I guess maybe this question to Mike. As you see this spike in demand for personal mobility, do you see that flowing more to used versus new in '21? And maybe if you've got a thought for where retail SAAR is in '21, that would be helpful.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

At the moment, it's so much across the board. And demand is so strong that when you -- when we -- customer can't get exactly what they want in new at the moment, we're able to show them something in pre-owned and they are willing to make whatever trade-off that requires. And so the -- that's how you get this additional demand in pre-owned. So now, as availability improves on new, I can't -- it's very hard to predict exactly what will happen.

And also, I have to say I'm reluctant at this point to put out a retail SAAR for next year because I still truly don't understand exactly how and when these plants and shipments come through. So certain -- we've had, of course, running conversations with the manufacturers since the spring and every target has been missed. Whereas what we've been told we would be shipped, it simply did not happen. So I'm like, OK, this is -- this is -- now we're in the -- when I see it, I'll understand it and I'll be able to predict it.

So, as I already said, I don't see any change in the fourth quarter from what I understand. It's coming through, and so now we're into the first quarter, best case. When I see that they're able to consistently achieve their shipping targets, then, OK, now we can talk about what you can sell me. The demand is there at retail. I'm not -- it's very interesting. I'm not worried about the demand, and on the demand, we'll either get it through the volume or we'll get it through pricing. So we're pretty good at balancing that. I just can't tell you when the exact crossover moment comes. So it's very hard to predict our retail SAAR for next year under the circumstances.

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

Right. Thank you.

Operator

Your next question comes from David Whiston with Morningstar. Your line is open.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. I guess first on new vehicles. The -- the ASP is up, but unit volume is down, and I was just curious how much of that -- that ASP increase and ultimately the increase in new vehicle gross profit is due to the higher ticket versus a mix shift to light trucks and the inventory shortage giving your pricing power.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe, you want to take that?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I can't give you exact numbers, but clearly, it's been well-documented. You've seen the shift going to trucks and SUVs. It has had a modest impact on the increased price per vehicle. And we clearly continue -- we see that trend continuing. Frankly, it's one of the areas that we have the tightest inventory supply, and so in many ways, here we are restricted by supply, not demand, and I don't see anything right now that's likely to change that trend, particularly given what's happening with gas prices, etc.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Okay. And on buybacks, if down the road, you were to -- basically buybacks were to be very difficult due to your float getting too low and whatnot and some institutions not wanting to get rid of their shares, would you want to, at that point, start a dividend or would you prefer M&A?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think our capital plan -- the most likely capital plan is what I'd discussed earlier. Investment in USA stores, acquisition of new vehicle franchises and share repurchase. I don't really see a change from that. You, Joe? Your views?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No. I think we have so many good opportunities in front of us. The returns are too attractive, but until we feel we've exhausted those, I think the priorities that you've set, Mike, are the exact right ones.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Okay. And just one last question on products. As you know, GMC unveiled their Hummer pickup last night and there is a -- there is a lot of automakers, legacy and start-ups, wanting to get into this very high end of the electric pickup market, including now your OEM partners with GM. That Hummer starts at $112,000 for the performance model. I'm just curious, one, your reaction to the product that you saw last night and that whole niche getting carved out. Do you think that will ultimately be really successful in the market because there is just a lot of wealthy customers that want that type of vehicle?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

So, the shift to electrification is under way. There is no turning back. We're excited to sell them. And the investment is there across the industry; it's just tremendous. Execution still matters on the actual product. You can -- you just got to -- you got to -- you just got to get it right. So I have to admit, the Hummer announcement last night put a smile on my face. Oh my god, if you want a metaphor for old General Motors versus new General Motors, just look at the Hummer. What a fantastic vehicle. I mean, in my personal view, they nailed it. And they used it -- they used a name which you literally had to pull the plug on some years ago to relaunch at the pinnacle of the technical capability that General Motors possesses today, and I think it's going to be a great success.

Now, obviously, with that price point, you can make good money, but there's only so much volume you can do. But I think it shows a spirit and an understanding of what you have to do for an electric vehicle to be a success. It's not enough just to drop some batteries in there and put electric motor in there. That's not going to get it done. And I think General Motors needs to be congratulating GMC and Hummer. It just put a smile on my face. I think it was just a great moment. It's a great video. And I think where that crossed across the trail, I almost fell out of my chair. Oh my god, who thought of that? It's exciting to see from General Motors. It really is. I couldn't be happier. Made my night.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

I agree [Speech Overlap]

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

[Speech Overlap] announced our earnings this morning, which made me feel also very good. So I'm having a good day. Between -- between the Hummer and our earnings, I'm having a good day.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

All right [Speech Overlap]

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

It's a grand slam. It's a grand slam for the company, it's a grand slam for the brand, and customers will go nuts.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Yeah. In 13 years, I've seen a lot of product unveilings and I've never been more excited and enjoyed a video or unveiling as much as what I watched last night.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

There you go. We're brothers, we're brothers. I fully agree, and we're at completely different places, and boom, there we are. And let me make a point. We sell them. I'm very excited about that.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Yeah. I look forward to hearing more about it as they are on sale.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Now, we have -- so here's my point. We have great products coming from the manufacturers around electrification, whether it's from the Taycan to the Hummer. And volume products that are getting better and better that we are excited to be in electrification business and our digital platform in the not too distant future will unveil the full range of electric vehicles that AutoNation has available and coming to the consumer. And you just go to our site, you're going to push on electric, and it's all there, from A to Z, including pre-owned Teslas. We're excited.

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

All right. Great. Well, thank you. Always appreciate your opinion.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Your last question comes from Stephanie Benjamin with SunTrust. Your line is open.

Stephanie Benjamin -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Hi. Thanks for squeezing me in here.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Hi, Stephanie.

Stephanie Benjamin -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

I wanted to talk a little bit about used vehicle volumes. I know we talked a lot about where we stand with the new vehicles side, but how are you feeling about your current used vehicle inventory levels, given it's a pretty hot market, where you're positioned now and going forward on the used side?

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We're actually doing a very good job, and our speed to market is excellent. And I think our big advantage is that 75% of what we retail, we acquire from consumers either through trades or direct purchases, and this puts us in a very good position on the gross profit side and it's very sustainable. Now, do we think we could have sold even more if we had them? I think so, and that's an ongoing discussion within the Company. But of course, as we increase our footprint with USA stores, we'll get significant growth there, and hence you put it all together, and we feel ultimately AutoNation as a company and a brand will retail over 1 million vehicles in the US.

Stephanie Benjamin -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Got it. And then lastly, just on the customer care performance, were there -- it kind of remains down year-over-year. You pointed to the continued decrease in vehicle miles driven. Are there any pockets of strength or weakness in different geographies across your footprint? And maybe some that might show a picture to when you expect this segment to return to maybe at least flat year-over-year? Thanks.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe, can you take that, please?

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So, within customer care, probably not surprising, an area that's down a bit is collision, with just fewer people driving. What's an interesting dynamic, though, is the average ticket really across the customer care portfolio has increased, so we're seeing in general folks spending a little more money when they're in. We're seeing collision recover, but that has been a slower area to date, again, just I think really driven by the miles. But if you looked the last couple of months, month to month to month, it has been a continued improvement. So, down 2% for the quarter. Again, if you think through the sequential improvement, the business is recovering, and we do believe collision will be that final straw, if you will, as people continue to increase driving this fall and then through the winter. So that really is probably the only area that has just continued to lag a little bit versus our expectations.

Stephanie Benjamin -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks so much.

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

All right, everyone, thank you for joining us today. We very much appreciate all your questions and inputs and ongoing discussions. Rob is, of course, available. If you have any follow-up questions, he'll try to get the answers for you. Thank you for joining us today.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 57 minutes

Call participants:

Robert Quartaro -- Investor Relations

Mike Jackson -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Joe Lower -- Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Rajat Gupta -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. -- Analyst

Nels Richard Nelson -- Stephens -- Analyst

John Joseph Murphy -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Adam Jonas -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Bret David Jordan -- Jefferies -- Analyst

David Whiston -- Morningstar -- Analyst

Stephanie Benjamin -- SunTrust Robinson Humphrey -- Analyst

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