Even as its new-vehicle sales slowed and new-vehicle margins tightened, Lithia Motors Inc. reported a gain in net income and record-high revenue in the first quarter. Higher profits were driven by improved same-store results in finance and insurance, parts and service and used-vehicle sales.
The Medford, Ore., retailer, the third-largest dealership group in the U.S., said Wednesday that first-quarter net income rose 8.3 percent from a year earlier to $56.4 million as revenue increased 7.1 percent to $2.85 billion.
"First quarter results demonstrate a marked improvement in our store teams capturing their potential," Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement.
Records: Revenue reached a record high, and same-store F&I profit per unit rose 7.8 percent to a record-high $1,485.
Sales: New-vehicle retail sales fell 4.3 percent to 39,695 units, while used-vehicle retail sales rose 13 percent to 40,675 units. Overall sales totaled 80,370 in the quarter, a 3.6 percent increase from a year earlier.
Same-store sales: On a same-store basis, new-vehicle retail sales dropped 6.8 percent to 37,540 units, a deeper decline than the 3.2 percent dip in U.S. light-vehicle sales across the industry in the first quarter, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Used-vehicle retail sales rose 9.7 percent to 38,568 units.
Lithia ranks No. 3 on Automotive News' list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., with retail sales of 184,601 new vehicles in 2018.
Lithia shares rose 7.4 percent to $104.90 on Wednesday.