MEDFORD, Ore. -- Auto dealership group Lithia Motors Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings grew 18 percent over the same period a year ago on higher revenues.
Lithia said it earned $7.3 million, compared with $6.1 million a year ago. Earnings per share decreased to 40 cents from 45 cents as the company increased the number of shares outstanding by a third.
The company, which owns 132 franchises in the central and western United States, said business slowed substantially through much of the fourth quarter, but a pickup in the final weeks of December allowed it to boost earnings.
Lithia had forecast earnings per share of 31 cents to 34 cents in mid-December. The company said it would release detailed earnings Feb. 26.