Group 1 Automotive Inc., Asbury Automotive Group and Lithia Motors Inc. posted sharply higher revenues and profits for the second quarter, buoyed by strong new-vehicle sales and solid profits from used vehicles, parts and service, and finance and insurance.
Sonic Automotive Inc., though, had its net profit tumble 68 percent on a 4 percent rise in revenues. Much of the profit drop was because of charges associated with retiring debt, but challenges with a new pricing system continued to squeeze vehicle profit margins as well.
The other three publicly traded dealership groups were firing on all cylinders. Revenue hit a quarterly high at Lithia and a record for any quarter at Group 1. Net profit climbed 25 percent at Lithia, 28 percent at Asbury and 31 percent at Group 1.
The public groups were actively buying and selling dealerships.
Asbury said it had purchased Toyota, Hyundai and Kia dealerships in Lithonia and Conyers, Ga., outside of Atlanta. The three stores, acquired from Phil Smith Automotive Group, are expected to contribute $115 million of additional annual revenues to Asbury. They bring the dealership group's store count to 79.