Lithia Motors sees revenue gains in first quarter

Lithia Motors reported first quarter earnings of $21.9 million, or 84 cents per share this morning, a 31.3 percent gain from $15.6 million, or 59 cents per share a year ago.

The nation's ninth-largest auto retailer saw revenue rise 22 percent to $903.1 million during the first quarter, a $164.9 million gain over the $738.2 million revenue during first-quarter 2012

The Medford retailer with operations in 11 states sold about 14,200 units during the first three months of the year, up 18 percent. Its luxury brands saw a 13 percent gain. It topped national averages in all lines.

Lithia also bumped up its dividend to 13 cents per share, a 30 percent gain.

The company said it planned $55 million in capital improvements during 2013. Lithia ended the quarter with $15 million in cash and $151 million available on its credit lines. The company paid off $26 million in mortgages during March and has $165 million in real estate debt, of which 78 percent are fixed rate mortgages.

— Greg Stiles

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