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Earnings

AutoNation car sales crash, nearly 30% staff furloughed

(Reuters) - AutoNation Inc AN.N said on Friday sales of new and used vehicles halved in the last two weeks of March due to global coronavirus-led lockdowns, forcing the company to place about 7,000 employees on unpaid leave.

The largest U.S. auto dealership chain said it was implementing cost-cutting measures, including temporary pay cuts for staff, curtailment of advertising expenses and postponing over $50 million of capital expenditures through the second quarter of 2020.

"Markets from which we derive approximately 95% of our total revenue are currently under extensive 'shelter in place' or 'stay at home' orders ... which significantly restrict our business operations," AutoNation said in a regulatory filing. (bit.ly/2UFalox)

The company currently has about $1.1 billion of liquidity, including over $400 million of cash and about $700 million in its revolving credit facility.

AutoNation had about 25,000 employees as of 2019.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M. and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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