Lithia Motors Inc. is focusing on people, property and pro-cesses in its bid to sell an average of 75 used vehicles per store each month.
In the third quarter, Lithia sold an average of 57 used vehicles per store per month, up from 52 a year earlier. The company can reach its 75-unit target in "a couple" of years, CEO Bryan DeBoer told Automotive News.
"The area that will help used-car sales is our ability to find used cars. That is the biggest barrier to Lithia's used-car growth," DeBoer said, adding that building that ability is "hard lifting."
To find cars, Lithia is looking for people.
In the past 12 to 18 months, Lithia, which has 92 stores mostly in the Pacific Northwest and California, has added more than a dozen used-car operations positions, primarily used-car managers.
Lithia also is expanding some dealerships to be able to stock more used vehicles, DeBoer said. And it's being more creative in how it finds used cars to sell.
"We believe that the used-car business is more than half of the potential profits of our stores," DeBoer said. "In some of our stores, our used cars can be a third of our fixed ops profits."
Lithia's used-vehicle retail sales rose 17 percent from a year earlier to 15,496 in the third quarter. The average gross profit per retail used vehicle sold rose 7 percent to $2,687.