Auto sector bulls may want to take a read through AutoNation's (AN) - Get AutoNation, Inc. Report mixed first quarter results. 

America's largest auto retailer reported flat revenue and gross profits for the quarter on Tuesday. Revenue came in at $5.14 billion, missing analyst estimates for $5.34 billion. Earnings tallied 97 cents a share, surpassing forecasts for 90 cents a share. 

Shares of AutoNation fell 0.5% to $43.86 in Tuesday's trading session. 

Sales of new vehicles fell 0.1% to $2.79 billion, while used car sales also dropped by 0.1% to $1.2 billion. Ford (F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report saw the biggest drop in units sold among American brands with an 8.6% drop. Total domestic units sold fell 1.4%. Sales of imports were unchanged vs. the prior year. 

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AutoNation's outspoken chairman and CEO Mike Jackson chose to stay upbeat on the industry's prospects for the year. 

"Most people it has been four, five six years since they've been in a showroom, and they are absolutely amazed at the new technology -- it's a big reason why they step up and buy a new car," Jackson said, hinting the continued advance in car technology -- from autonomous driving features to voice controls -- would keep demand reasonably healthy. 

Recent data would suggest otherwise, however.

Automakers sold 1.56 million new cars and trucks in March, a 1.6% drop compared with the same month a year ago. At an annualized run rate of 16.6 million cars and trucks, 2017 is on pace to trail the record 17.54 million vehicles sold last year.