Second-quarter profits were up at three out of four publicly held dealer groups. Setting aside larger profits gained through acquisitions, all four groups said same-store revenue was up thanks to consolidated services, e-commerce and profits from departments other than new-car sales.
AutoNation Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., posted second-quarter net operating income from continuing operations of $97.1 million, up 91 percent from the year-ago quarter. The results exclude the rental business, which was separated from dealership operations, and the waste business, which was spun off. Internet-generated leads resulted in 10,000 vehicle sales, which brought in $230 million in second-quarter revenue, AutoNation said.
Sonic Automotive Inc., based in Charlotte, N.C., said second-quarter net earnings were $10.1 million, up 116 percent from the year-ago quarter. Sonic said new finance and insurance programs helped boost per-vehicle finance and insurance profits 26 percent. Sonic also said same-store used-car margins were up 9 percent.
Lithia Motors Inc., of Medford, Ore., posted second-quarter net earnings of $4.6 million, up 106.3 percent from a year ago. Same-store sales were up 7 percent. Lithia said the average selling price of a new vehicle at its dealerships was $23,132, up from $21,711 a year ago.
Hometown Auto Retailers Inc., based in Watertown, Conn., said net earnings of $688,000 for the second quarter were down from year-ago pro forma earnings of $966,000 at the group's 11 stores. Hometown expects to save $300,000 a year since it signed Universal Underwriters Service Corp. to administer an extended warranty package and retained a common oil vendor for all the group's locations.