AutoNation Inc., the largest U.S. auto dealer, plans to sell up to $800 million of auto loan-backed paper by the late third or early fourth quarter, said a source in the company's treasury department. The lending unit of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based concern has chosen a syndicate group led by Banc of America Securities to run the books with Credit Suisse First Boston and First Union Securities Inc., it was added.

AutoNation filed a preliminary S-3 shelf registration with the Securities & Exchange Commission July 19 for a token $1 million of auto loan-backed paper for issuance vehicle ANRC Auto Owner Trust. The company plans to increase available capacity of the shelf to a total of $2 billion.

In the past, AutoNation has sold two public term ABS deals, $768.8 million of a series 1999-A deal via Chase Securities in October 1999 and $691.7 million of a 2000-A deal via First Union last August.

AutoNation is run by chairman H. Wayne Huizenga, former chairman of such diverse companies such as Blockbuster Entertainment Corp., Waste Management Inc. and Boca Resorts Inc. as well as owning professional football's Miami Dolphins.

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