Higher F&I product sales and partnerships with both vendors and lenders bolstered F&I profit per vehicle for the nation's largest public retailers, though a changing sales mix from new to used vehicles could put pressure on F&I profit down the line.
Despite a 3.2 percent decline in U.S. new light-vehicle sales in the first quarter, according to the Automotive News Data Center, all six public new-vehicle dealership groups improved average F&I gross profit per vehicle.
Though both retailers reported new-vehicle sales declines, AutoNation Inc. and Lithia Motors said they reached record-high average F&I profit per vehicle on a same-store basis. AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., ranked No. 1 with $1,904 in average F&I profit per vehicle, an increase of 7 percent, or $124, from the year earlier. At Lithia, of Medford, Ore., average F&I profit per vehicle rose 7.8 percent — or $107 — to $1,485 on a same-store basis.
The other public dealership groups also boosted same-store F&I profit per vehicle:
- Group 1 Automotive Inc., of Houston, rose 0.87 percent, or $15, to $1,737.
- Sonic Automotive Inc., of Charlotte, N.C., rose 10.1 percent, or $149, to $1,618.
- Asbury Automotive Group Inc., of Duluth, Ga., rose 2.5 percent, or $39, to $1,585.
- Penske Automotive Group Inc., of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., rose 3.4 percent, or $42, to $1,262.