DETROIT -- Auto dealer group Lithia Motors Inc. said Tuesday that its third-quarter earnings rose 21 percent as additional stores sold more new vehicles, services and financing.
Lithia said it earned $12.9 million, or 69 cents a share, in the quarter, up from $10.7 million, or 59 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues rose 6 percent to $728 million.
Lithia said new-vehicle sales increased 10 percent while parts and service sales increased 13 percent and finance and insurance sales increased 17 percent.
Much of those increases came through acquisitions, as Lithia has nine more stores and 17 more new-vehicle franchises than it did a year ago. Same-store sales were down 0.6 percent.
The Oregon company raised its earnings guidance for 2003 to a range of $1.82 to $1.85 a share. For 2004, it gave earnings guidance of $1.90 to $2.00 a share, including "a steady pace of acquisitions."