Group 1 Automotive 3Q profit rises 46 percent

HOUSTON -- Auto dealer Group 1 Automotive Inc. said Thursday that third-quarter profit rose 46 percent as new-car sales jumped by one-third.

Net income rose to $31.3 million, or $1.32 per share, matching the forecast of analysts surveyed by FactSet. A year earlier, the company earned $21.5 million, or 91 cents per share.

Revenue rose 26 percent to $1.98 billion. Analysts expected $1.90 billion.

New-vehicle gross profit rose more than 18 percent as the company sold 34 percent more vehicles, but the average sales price dipped 1.2 percent, to $33,050, on a shift from luxury vehicles and trucks to mid-line imports. The average price for used vehicles rose 2.6 percent, to $20,612.

Group 1 runs 121 dealerships, 158 franchises and 30 repair shops and also arranges vehicle financing and insurance.

The shares fell $3.19, or 5.2 percent, to $58.65 in midday trading. They had risen 19 percent for the year through Wednesday.