U.S. public dealership groups' shareholder value slipped for the second straight quarter.
Their returns dropped 4.7 percent on average in the quarter that ended March 31.
Lithia Motors Inc. persevered with the best return in the quarter, up 10.0 percent.
"Lithia reported a 28 percent increase in quarterly operating income on the strength of improved gross margin and expense control," PricewaterhouseCoopers says in its analysis of the rankings. "And Lithia announced the acquisition of Reno Chrysler-Jeep in Nevada in January, which the company expects will add approximately $55 million in annual revenue."
Retailers continue to outperform automakers and suppliers in the one- and three-year periods. All seven dealership groups maintained positive returns in those longer periods.
Lithia turned in the weakest three-year return, though still up 68.6 percent. CarMax Inc. posted the strongest return in the period, up 310.1 percent.
UnitedAuto Group Inc. gained 167.4 percent in the 12 months that ended March 31 but had the worst first quarter, down 12.3 percent.
AutoNation Inc., the nation's largest automotive retailer, delivered the lowest one-year return, up 44.1 percent.