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Group 1 Automotive CEO Discusses Q3 2010 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Earl Hesterberg

Thank you, Lance, and good morning, everyone. I am pleased to report that our results for the third quarter of 2010 were extremely positive in almost every area. Most noteworthy was the continuation of very powerful sales performance in almost every area of our business. This sales performance generated an overall revenue increase of more than 17% for the quarter, which continues to leverage the aggressive cost reduction actions our company took last year.

I am also pleased at our major balance sheet improvements throughout the first nine months of this year. Our current cash position is extremely strong for a company of our size. And our long-term debt to equity position is one of the best in our recent corporate history. John will provide more details during his presentation.

As I just mentioned, our sales performance remained strong in the third quarter. Retail used vehicle and parts and service performances were exceptional and well beyond our projections. In the current challenging economic conditions, many customers see more value in used vehicles.

We have been capitalizing on this trend as evidenced by our third quarter retail used vehicle revenue increase of 33.7%; 29% on a same-store basis. This substantial increase was driven by a 24% lift in retail used vehicle unit sales on a consolidated basis and 21% more unit sales on a same-store basis.

Although our new vehicle sales increase was not as impressive on a percentage basis, we must remember that the third quarter last year was inflated by the government's Cash for Clunkers program.

With that comparison in mind, industry retail sales actually decreased slightly during the third quarter whereas our new vehicle unit sales increased 2% on a same-store basis and 5.3% on a consolidated basis. After nine months in the calendar year, our new vehicle revenues are up 17.5% on a same-store basis.

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