This was the very final quarterly financial earnings report where the leaving CEO of AutoNation, Mike Jackson, would be on the call and provided his own brand of opinions and wisdom.
During the Q&A portion of the February call, an analyst encouraged Jackson to remain a “vocal” presence in the car business.
“Oh yeah, yeah. Call me up, and I’ll have an opinion or two,” Jackson said in response.
Later, his thoughts regarding the potential impact of tariffs on vehicles imported to the U.S., proposed by President Donald Trump, were similar in candor.
“Auto tariffs will make the steel and aluminum tariffs look like a picnic,” Jackson said.
“They will be very disruptive to the auto industry and probably knock the global economy off its stride significantly … they’re so disruptive, it’s almost unthinkable,” he said.
“I think it’s all about leverage and brinkmanship in a trade negotiation, and at the end of the day, it’s mutual destruction to implement tariffs of these levels on autos,” Jackson said. “Let alone the fact that there’s no underlying authority that’s justifiable to do it.
“That it’s a national security issue when the U.S. auto industry is healthier than it’s been in decades is a stretch. But, OK, let’s not let any facts or clear thinking get in the way,” he said.
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