Annual used-car sales: Group 1 up 4%; AutoNation off slightly

HOUSTON and FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - 

The first two publicly traded groups to share their 2016 financial statements — AutoNation and Group 1 Automotive — posted mixed results within their used-vehicle departments.

Group 1 reported that its dealerships retailed 129,131 used vehicles last year, representing a 4.0-percent increase above the 2015 figure. The company also generated a 3.3-percent rise in retail used-vehicle gross profit as its revenue in the used-car space climbed 6.7 percent.

For the year on a per unit basis, Group 1 reported retail gross of $1,472 on its used-vehicle turns. That figure softened by 1.7 percent year-over-year.

Meanwhile, the F&I offices at Group 1 stores compiled a $74 increase in gross per unit, ending the year at $1,599.

At AutoNation, the dealer group said it turned 225,713 used vehicles in 2016, which ended up being a figure 1,577 units less than the previous year. And the group’s gross profit per used unit softened by $93 to settle at $1,484 for the year.

But like Group 1, AutoNation made improvement in the F&I office as gross per unit on the back-end of deliveries jumped by $54 year-over-year to finish 2016 at $1,588.

Both Asbury Automotive Group and Penske Automotive Group are scheduled to release their year-end results on Tuesday. Later this month, both Lithia Motors and Sonic Automotive will share their numbers, too, on Feb. 15 and Feb. 21, respectively.

If he joins Asbury’s conference call with the investment community, it likely will be the last time for Keith Style, who recently provided notice of his intention to resign from the position of senior vice president and chief financial officer of the company effective March 7.

“We thank Keith for his valuable service to Asbury over the last 13 years and wish him well in his next endeavor,” Asbury president and chief executive officer Craig Monaghan said in a news release. “We are pleased that Keith has agreed to remain with the company until after we file our annual report on the Form 10-K for the year ended Dec.31, 2016.”

Asbury indicated Style is departing in order to accept the position of president and chief financial officer of a privately owned company.

“I would like to thank Craig for his mentorship during our time working together,” Style said. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities and support both he and the Board provided me during my years at Asbury.  It's been a privilege to work alongside the high-performing members of the Asbury team.

Asbury also announced that William Stax, corporate controller and chief accounting officer of the company, was appointed interim principal financial officer effective March 8 while the dealer group conducts a search for a new chief financial officer.

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