Lithia forward of AutoNation in new-car gross sales race

By means of the primary half of the yr, Lithia bought 133,694 new automobiles, up 3.6 p.c. AutoNation bought 114,332 automobiles for a similar interval, down 22 p.c.

AutoNation CEO Mike Manley in a name with analysts Thursday mentioned the second quarter new-vehicle quantity decline “when you think about our low degree of recent stock and our excessive stock flip charges, was for my part purely a results of continued constrained provide.” AutoNation did not reply to a request for remark from Automotive Information on the gross sales race.

Lithia has additionally bested AutoNation to date this yr on the sale of recent and used automobiles mixed. Lithia retailed 288,409 automobiles general for the primary half, a 12 p.c achieve, whereas AutoNation bought 271,175 automobiles, a 9.3 p.c drop.

‘Fairly good stream’
The nation’s publicly traded dealership teams have all seen restricted gross sales due to the new-vehicle shortages, however each Lithia and AutoNation skilled provide enhancements, albeit slight, between the top of March and the top of June.

Lithia reported a 32-day provide of recent automobiles on June 30, up from 27 days on March 31.

AutoNation reported an 11-day provide of recent automobiles on June 30, up from simply eight days on the finish of March.

The 2 corporations’ provide metrics aren’t comparable as Lithia’s calculations embody in-transit automobiles.

“Our home [brands] day provide on new is round 60 days, so we have now fairly good stream despite the fact that there’s some in-transit on that,” Lithia CEO Bryan DeBoer mentioned Wednesday in a name with analysts. “Actually our softness in day provide, which is the place we actually are promoting each automotive that we get about as fast as we are able to get them, is in our imports, which we’re sitting at a 16-day provide. Our luxuries are sitting at a few 29-day provide.”

He estimated that one-third of Lithia’s new-vehicle quantity is pre-sold, down from about half 90 days in the past.

“Since rates of interest have come up, it positively has affected issues, but it surely’s… nonetheless a sturdy atmosphere the place these vehicles hit the bottom and it is somebody that desires to drive the automotive and there is two different folks ready to drive the identical automotive,” DeBoer mentioned. “It is nonetheless a little bit of a frenzy, and we think about that it will proceed by the remainder of the yr, particularly realizing that provide strains for many producers are going to stay fairly tight till Q1 or Q2 of subsequent yr.”

AutoNation CFO Joe Decrease mentioned within the firm’s analyst name that the retailer expects “demand to proceed to outpace provide into the again half of 2022.”

He famous that 35 to 40 p.c of domestic-brand automobiles are pre-ordered right now, down from about half within the first quarter. Half of import-brand automobiles are pre-ordered, the identical proportion as the primary quarter, he mentioned, and AutoNation’s luxury-brand pre-order price has dropped barely to 60 to 65 p.c right now in contrast with 70 p.c within the first quarter. Nonetheless, all pre-orders are “considerably above” the degrees they had been at earlier than the coronavirus pandemic started, Decrease mentioned.

Lithia’s procuring spree
Lithia handed longtime No. 2 Penske Automotive Group Inc. in new-vehicle gross sales final yr because it continued an acquisition tear. Lithia purchased Michigan’s 34-store Suburban Assortment in April 2021, its largest of a number of purchases final yr. And the retailer has continued to amass dealerships at a speedy clip in 2022.

Earlier this month, Lithia, of Medford, Ore., purchased a Ford retailer in Northern California. On the finish of June, Lithia acquired 10 dealerships in three transactions throughout South Florida and Nevada. Within the first quarter, Lithia purchased six dealerships in Northern California and Las Vegas in two transactions. Lithia has additionally shed some shops this yr.

AutoNation, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., acquired 20 franchised dealerships in 2021 in two massive transactions. The corporate, which has not reported any dealership acquisitions to date in 2022, is utilizing a few of its capital to increase its AutoNation USA standalone used-vehicle enterprise from 11 shops right now to a deliberate 130-plus by the top of 2026.

Melissa Burden contributed to this report.