Lithia Motors Inc.‘s first-quarter net income dropped by a third as the auto retail giant saw double-digit percentage declines in new- and used-vehicle gross profit per retail unit and lower average used-vehicle selling prices.
Revenue for the Medford, Ore., retailer increased 4 percent to a first-quarter record of $6.97 billion. Net income fell 33 percent to $229.6 million and expenses cut into profits.
Lithia sold 67,796 new vehicles in the first quarter, up 4.4 percent, and 78,142 used vehicles, up 6 percent. But the average gross profit per new retail vehicle fell 20 percent to $4,924. The average gross profit per used retail vehicle plunged 30 percent to $2,120.
The auto retailer said the average selling price for new retail vehicles rose 2.6 percent to $48,364, while the average selling price for used retail vehicles fell 6 percent to $28,506.
Lithia, which surpassed longtime No. 1 AutoNation Inc. in new vehicles sold in 2022, entered the United Kingdom in March when it bought Jardine Motors Group.
The deal added more than three dozen U.K. new-vehicle dealerships to Lithia’s portfolio and will add more than $2 billion to Lithia’s annual revenue.
In February, Lithia bought an Acura store in Canada. Lithia on Wednesday said it sold a dealership, which it did not identify, in the first quarter and noted the store generated revenue of $46 million in the past year.
The retailer said it has acquired $16 billion in annualized revenue since July 2020, which is when it revealed its five-year plan to reach $50 billion in annual revenue by 2025.
“Our strong balance sheet and significant capital engine position us well to further consolidate the industry,” Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer said in a statement.
Lithia shares closed up 0.3 percent Tuesday to $226.45.
Q1 revenue: $6.97 billion, up 4 percent from a year earlier
Q1 net income: $229.6 million, down 33 percent from a year earlier
Q1 adjusted income: $233 million, down 34 percent from a year earlier
Vehicle sales: Lithia sold 145,938 vehicles, new and used, in the first quarter, up 5.3 percent. On a same-store basis, Lithia sold 129,597 new and used vehicles in the first quarter, down 4.2 percent.
Records: First-quarter revenue
Ranking: Lithia ranks No. 1 on Automotive News‘ list of the top 150 dealership groups based in the U.S., retailing 271,596 new vehicles in 2022. Lithia’s sales figures include dealerships outside of the U.S.