Tag Archive | "new vehicle sales"

Lithia’s Drop in New-Vehicle Gross Per Unit Offset by Q1 F&I Performance


MEDFORD, Ore. — Lithia Motors’ F&I operations realized a $52 increase in F&I profit per vehicle retailed, which settled in at $1,233 in the first quarter of 2015.

The group’s F&I performance, coupled with the $97 increase in used-vehicle gross profit per vehicle retailed ($2,602), helped the 130-store dealer group offset lower new-vehicle gross profit per unit, which fell $90 to $2,160.

“In the first quarter, the blended overall gross profit per unit was $3,646 compared to $3,599 last year, or an increase of $57 …,” said Bryan Deboer, Lithia’s president and CEO, during the group’s quarterly investor call on Tuesday. “While we continue to see lower new-vehicle gross profit per unit, this was more than offset by improvement in used-vehicle gross profit per unit and F&I per vehicle.”

Lithia Motors not only posted its best quarterly results since 2006, it also realized its highest first quarter adjusted net income in company history, which rose from $27.1 million in the year-ago period to $36.9 million. On per-share basis, earnings increased 35% from a year ago to $1.38 per share.

Revenue increased 66% from a year ago to approximately $1.8 million, with the group realizing double-digit increases in all of its four business lines on a same-store basis.

Total sales increased 11%, while new-vehicle revenues increased 11.3% on a same-store basis to $639,501. The average selling price increased 3%, while unit sales increased 8.5% from a year ago to 18,567 units.

Used-vehicle revenues increased 11.1% to $333,300, while the average selling price increased 4%. The dealer group also retailed 6% more used vehicles than a year ago, with the group selling 0.9 used vehicles for every new-vehicle sold.

Revenue from service, body and parts increased 11.1% from a year ago to $1.2 million, with revenues from customer pay and warranty-related work increasing 19% and 31%, respectively. Wholesale parts revenues also increased 5%, while body shop revenues showed a slight decrease of 3%.

“We delivered the best first quarter earnings in our company’s history, and the second best quarterly earnings ever,” Deboer noted. “For the fourth consecutive quarter, we achieved double-digit growth in same-store sales in all business lines. We remain focused on capturing additional market share, improving existing store results, and the continued success, integration and growth of DCH and actively seeking accretive acquisitions.”

Last June, Lithia agreed to buy DCH Auto Group, a 27-store operation with stores in California, New York and New Jersey. The acquisition made Lithia the fifth largest dealer group by store count.

“We believe that the integration of DCH has gone very smoothly,” Deboer said on Tuesday, noting that the group continues to explore other acquisitions.

“We are not solely looking at $500 million or $1 billion acquisition,” he added. “We’re still looking at our typical strategies where we buy $50 million to $70 million store size. And there is a pretty active market in that arena both in our exclusive markets and now in the metropolitan market.”

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J.D. Power Projects Best January Sales in 10 Years


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — January new-vehicle sales are expected to reach levels not seen since 2004, according to a sales forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. The two firms expect sales for the month to reach 932,000 units, an 8.5% increase over January 2014.

The total retail SAAR in January is expected to reach 16.4 million units, an increase of 1.2 million vehicles over last year. J.D. Power is also holding to its prediction of 17 million new-vehicle sales for all of 2015.

“The year is off to a great start with exceptional growth in retail sales,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “The sales momentum seen throughout 2014 is continuing into 2015.”

Continuing a trend from 2014, low gas prices are causing consumers to buy more trucks, with truck, van and SUV sales accounting for 55.4% of sales so far in January.

Vehicle production is expected to increase in 2015 but at a slower rate than last year’s 5% increase. LMC Automotive expects North American production to hit 17.4 million vehicles in 2015, a 3% increase vs. 2014.

“The auto industry is starting 2015 on auto pilot,” said Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive. “Growth of 3% should be easy to achieve as the risk could be centered more with automakers and suppliers not being able to keep up with demand if growth were to be stronger than we project. “

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U.S. New Auto Sales at Highest Level Since 2006


DETROIT – Sales of new vehicles in the U.S. last year grew by 6 percent to 16,522,000 units, according to AutoData Corp., marking the highest rate since 2006, reported MLive.

For the Detroit Three, sales rose for both General Motors, which sold more vehicles in the U.S. than any other automaker in 2014, and for FCA US, formerly Chrysler Group, which has had 57 straight months of sales growth.

Ford’s sales were flat, although the Dearborn automaker expected a slower pace as it completely retooled some of its facilities for an unprecedented roll-out of a revamped F-150, its best-selling vehicle.

Here’s how the top eight automakers’ sales fared in 2014 vs. 2013, per AutoData Corp.:

  • GM – Up 5.3 % to 2,935,008 vehicles sold
  • Ford – Down 0.6 % to 2,471,315
  • FCA/Chrysler – Up 16.1 % to 2,090,639
  • Toyota – Up 6.2 % to 2,373,771
  • Honda – Up. 1.0 % to 1,540,872
  • Nissan – Up 11.1 % to 1,386,895
  • Hyundai – Up 0.7 % to 725,718
  • Volkswagen – Down 2.9 % to 552,720

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J.D. Power Projects Highest December SAAR in Eight Years


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — New-vehicle retail sales in December are expected to reach a SAAR of 14.2 million units, the highest level since 2006, according to a monthly sales forecast released by J.D. Power and LMC Automotive.

J.D. Power projects sales of 1.3 million units for December, which represents a 7% increase on a selling day adjusted basis compared with last December. The selling day adjustment was made because this year’s December has one more selling day than last year.

Vehicle inventory levels at the start of December 2014 were at a 71-day supply, five days fewer than November and six fewer than last December. The end of the year is typically a strong time for dealers as customers seek better deals when inventories are being cleared out for the next year’s models.

“The industry continues to demonstrate strong sales growth as the year comes to a close,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive practice at J.D. Power. “December 31 was the strongest sales day of the year in 2013, bringing in more than 118,000 units, or 10% of the month’s sales.”

LMC Automotive is still projecting total light vehicle sales of 16.5 million units, a number that was increased recently due to strong November and December sales. Sales in 2015 will continue to increase, and LMC is projecting the industry will sell 17 million units next year.

“The prospects for auto sales to overachieve in 2015 are moving closer to reality as 2014 goes out on a high note,” said Jeff Schuster, SVP of forecasting at LMC. “Economic bliss, driven by job creation, wage growth and low gas prices may drive consumers to showrooms at a faster pace.”

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Avg. New-Vehicle Transaction Price Up $3,900 Since 2009


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Rising transaction prices for new vehicles have been a big contributor to the health of the auto industry this year, J.D. Power analysts reported this week. They noted that the average new-vehicle transaction price has risen $3,900 since 2009 to $29,600.

Current transaction prices for new vehicle and the rise in sales could push up the value of vehicles purchased to the highest level ever at $407 billion, J.D. Power noted.

“When defining success in the auto industry, whether it is for a specific segment, manufacturer or model, it’s important to look beyond basic sales figures,” said Thomas King, vice president of J.D. Power’s Power Information Network.

King noted that not all vehicle segments have performed equally, with some delivering stronger volumes and lower price growth while others realized greater price growth but weaker sales. Retail sales in the large pickup segment, King pointed out, have increased 4.6% this year, which is below the overall industry sales increase of 5.7%. However, the average price of a pickup has risen by $2,700 over that same period, a gain of 7.5% compared to the industry average of 2.3%.

“From a sales perspective, large pickups have grown slightly slower than the industry overall, but from a price perspective, they have significantly outperformed the industry,” said King.

By contrast, compact SUVs have demonstrated exception retail volume growth of 22.1% so far this year. The average transaction price for models in this segment, however, have changed only slightly by an average of 0.6%. It is these statistical differences that is driving J.D. Power’s belief that sales numbers alone do not provide the best overall picture of industry success.

“With the rapid growth of average transaction prices over the past few years, success needs to be defined more broadly to include overall revenues in addition to sales volumes,” said King.

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New Forecasts Show Best September Sales Since 2007


SANTA MONICA, Calif. — New vehicle sales projections for September are up as much as 9.7% compared to the same period last year according to forecasts from TrueCar and J.D. Power. Over 1.2 million new light-vehicles will be sold in September which TrueCar is calling the highest number in 7 years.

“We expect another strong month for the industry with the best September since 2007,” said John Krafcik, president of TrueCar. “Incentive spending has tapered off from August, a month where we found increases attributable to shifts in segment mix, model year clearance and holiday events.”

The average new vehicle retail transaction price in September was $30,100, the highest ever for the month and exceeding 2013 by $450.

“While the strong sales pace is an indicator of the health of the industry, it is being complemented by record transaction prices for the month of September,” said John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive practice at J.D. Power.

Kia is projected to have the strongest rebound from 2013 with a 23.7% increase in sales compared to last September, according to TrueCar. GM has the highest projected number of sales at 225,000 vehicles.

Average incentive spending by manufacturers was $2,801 per car, 6.2% lower than it was in August but still at healthy levels, said Krafcik.

TrueCar also projects over 3 million used car sales from dealerships and private parties in September, a slightly lower number than last year. Both TrueCar and J.D. Power are forecasting 16.4 million new light- vehicle sales for 2014.

Edmunds also released their September forecast showing similar projected numbers while commenting that as good as the numbers have been, buyers had responded to more low financing deals and lease offers which boded well for new car sales going forward.

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