UPDATE 1-Auto retailer Lithia Motors profit boosted by strong demand, higher prices

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July 21 (Reuters) – U.S. auto retailer Lithia Motors Inc reported a four-fold rise in its quarterly profit on Wednesday, boosted by higher vehicle prices and strong demand for personal transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Low interest rates and consumers’ preference for personal vehicles have lifted demand for auto retailers at a time when supplies have been plagued by an unrelenting semiconductor crunch. This has pushed customers to pay higher prices and boosted profits for manufacturers and retailers.

The average price of a new vehicle set a first-half record of $38,041, an increase of 10% from 2020, according to consultant J.D. Power.

Average gross profit per new vehicle for Lithia jumped 58% to $4,173, while it rose 47% to $3,311 for used vehicles.

The company’s net income for the second quarter ended June 30 was $304.9 million, or $10.75 per share, compared with $77.7 million, or $3.38 per share, a year earlier.

Its revenue jumped to $6.01 billion from $2.76 billion.

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