Lithia Motors Inc. said record revenue, gains in finance and insurance and new-vehicle sales, plus a surge in used-vehicle sales, helped boost earnings higher in the fourth quarter.
Net income for the nation's third-largest new-vehicle retailer grew 14 percent to $68 million. Lithia's adjusted net income increased 15 percent to $70 million and excluded charges for asset impairments and acquisition expenses, though offset some by store-sale gains. Lithia's fourth-quarter 2018 adjusted results excluded a charge for asset impairment and loss on the sale of stores, partially offset by tax benefits.
Revenue jumped 9.9 percent to a record $3.27 billion.
"We increased same-store sales in all core business lines, including double-digit revenue growth of over 16 percent in both used-vehicle sales and F&I," Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement Wednesday. "Our stores and their phenomenal teams continue to be focused on creating convenient and transparent consumer experiences to generate our strong results."
Last year, Lithia bought nine stores with expected annual revenues of more than $825 million.
Lithia's stock fell 8.2 percent to close Wednesday at $128.63.
Records: Fourth-quarter and full-year revenue.
Sales: New-vehicle sales rose 2.6 percent to 46,442. Used-vehicle sales jumped 18 percent to 42,740.
Same-store sales: Same-store new-vehicle sales slipped 1 percent to 43,953. Same-store used-vehicle sales grew 16 percent to 41,129. New light-vehicle sales across the U.S. dipped 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Full-year results: In 2019, revenue increased 7.2 percent $12.67 billion. Net income rose 2.2 percent to $271.5 million. Adjusted net income jumped 13 percent to $275 million and excludes a charge for asset impairments, insurance reserves and purchase expenses, partially offset by gains in store sales. Adjusted results in 2018 excluded gains on the sale of stores and tax benefits offset by charges for insurance, acquisition costs and asset impairments.
Lithia of Medford, Ore., 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.