That was the highest new-vehicle sales penetration rate for extended-service contracts since at least 1991, when it was 30 percent, numbers from past NADA data reports show.
Sales penetration dropped to 20 percent in the late 1990s and generally has climbed since except for dips in 2007 and 2009 during the last recession.
Last year's robust service contract sales helped fuel an increase in F&I dollars as a percent of vehicle gross profit.
For 2012, F&I -- including sales of extended service contracts and other F&I products, plus dealer reserve -- accounted for about 37 percent of new- and used-vehicle gross profit, the 2013 report said. In 2011, the F&I contribution was about 34 percent. Dealer reserve is the cut of the consumer's interest rate that dealerships make for originating indirect auto loans.
F&I as a percent of total new- and used-vehicle gross profit rose in 2012 vs. 2011 even though new and used gross profit also increased, NADA said.