DETROIT -- Auto dealer group Sonic Automotive Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter earnings fell as its domestic franchises performed poorly.
Sonic said it earned $17.5 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter, down from $32 million, or 73 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. The results from this quarter included $9.3 million, or 23 cents a share, in costs related to debt buyback and issuance of new bonds.
Revenue increased 5 percent to $2 billion.
O. Bruton Smith, Sonic's chairman, said while the company's import and luxury brand sales were strong, its dealerships selling Ford and Chrysler brands "sharply under performed."
Same-store revenues rose 1.2 percent, even as used-vehicle sales declined. Sonic said lower losses on wholesale used vehicles offset the decline in same-store used-vehicle retail sales.
For all of 2003, Sonic is forecasting earnings a share of $2.20 to $2.25, excluding accounting changes and debt retirement costs. For 2004, Sonic said it estimated earnings of $2.65 to $2.85 a share, excluding any unannounced acquisitions or additional share repurchases.