Krenz said replacement demand is a strong foundation for optimism. "We see a higher proportion of 'need' customers coming in with vehicles that are nearing the end of their useful life," he said.
In F&I, Krenz said Asbury gets 38 percent of its revenues from dealer reserve, whereby the dealership shares in the interest-rate profit on a loan. The other 62 percent comes from F&I product sales, mostly extended service contracts, prepaid maintenance and GAP, he said.
Other publicly traded new-vehicle retailers reported recently their F&I revenues in the second quarter of 2013 were roughly in the same mix.
Krenz said Asbury is "chasing best-in-class" in terms of average F&I revenue per vehicle retailed, or PVR. He didn't name the retailer that fits that description, but it's AutoNation, the nation's biggest auto retail group.
AutoNation had the highest average F&I revenue per vehicle retailed for the second quarter at $1,381. Asbury reported $1,306 average F&I revenue per vehicle in the quarter.
"We've steadily improved this [F&I] business," Krenz told analysts. "We continue to feel there's an opportunity to improve this business. We're still not best-in-class."
Asbury ranks No. 7 on Automotive News' list of the top 125 dealership groups in the United States with retail sales of 77,712 new vehicles in 2012. AutoNation ranks No. 1 with 267,810.