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Group 1 Automotive Finance and Insurance Gross Profit Per Retail Unit of $1,175 a Record First-Quarter Result

Group 1-revised(color)

HOUSTON — Group 1 Automotive, Inc. (NYSE: GPI), a Fortune 500 automotive retailer, has reported record first-quarter 2012 net income of $23.1 million, a 49.1 percent increase, and record first-quarter diluted earnings per common share of $0.97, a 51.6 percent increase, on a year-over-year comparable basis for the period ended March 31, 2012.

First-Quarter 2012 Highlights

  • Total revenues of $1.66 billion were the best reported first quarter and second-best all-time quarter in the history of the company.
  • Total gross margin was 15.6 percent, as gross profit grew 17.4 percent from the prior year to an all-time record of $260.4 million.
  • New vehicle gross profit increased 23.5 percent on 16.3 percent higher revenues, as the company retailed 13.1 percent more units and the average selling price expanded 2.9 percent, to $32,674.
  • Retail used vehicle unit sales surged 24.0 percent and the average selling price increased 3.4 percent, to $20,000, driving gross profit growth of 25.9 percent on 28.3 percent higher revenues.
  • Parts and service revenues increased 9.3 percent from the prior year, reflecting continued growth in customer-pay, wholesale parts and collision businesses.
  • Finance and insurance gross profit per retail unit of $1,175 was also a record first-quarter result.
  • Further demonstrating the improving cost leverage, selling, general and administrative expenses as a percent of gross profit improved 280 basis points, to 76.5 percent, from the prior-year period.
  • Operating margin expanded to 3.2 percent, a 40 basis-point improvement from the prior-year period.

“Group 1’s strong, first-quarter operating and financial results included record-setting revenues, gross profit and earnings for our shareholders,” said Earl J. Hesterberg, Group 1’s president and chief executive officer. “In addition, I am delighted with our operating margin expansion, which reflects the improvements and efficiencies we have implemented during the last several years. Based on the first-quarter results, we now expect new vehicle industry sales of 14.5 million units in 2012.”

Corporate Development Recap
As previously announced during the first quarter, Group 1 added three franchises to its portfolio including Volkswagen, BMW and Hyundai franchises that are expected to add $143.5 million in annual revenues.

First-Quarter Earnings Conference Call
Group 1’s senior management will host a conference call today at 10 a.m. ET to discuss the first-quarter financial results and the company’s outlook and strategy.

About Group 1 Automotive, Inc.
Group 1 owns and operates 112 automotive dealerships, 144 franchises, and 28 collision centers in the United States and the United Kingdom that offer 31 brands of automobiles. Through its dealerships, the company sells new and used cars and light trucks; arranges related vehicle financing, service and insurance contracts; provides automotive maintenance and repair services; and sells vehicle parts.

Group 1 Automotive can be reached on the Internet at
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are statements related to future, not past, events and are based on our current expectations and assumptions regarding our business, the economy and other future conditions. In this context, the forward-looking statements often include statements regarding our goals, plans, projections and guidance regarding our financial position, results of operations, market position, pending and potential future acquisitions and business strategy, and often contain words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “should,” “foresee,” “may” or “will” and similar expressions. While management believes that these forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made, there can be no assurance that future developments affecting us will be those that we anticipate. Any such forward-looking statements are not assurances of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the statements. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things, (a) general economic and business conditions, (b) the level of manufacturer incentives, (c) the future regulatory environment, (d) our ability to obtain an inventory of desirable new and used vehicles, (e) our relationship with our automobile manufacturers and the willingness of manufacturers to approve future acquisitions, (f) our cost of financing and the availability of credit for consumers, (g) our ability to complete acquisitions and dispositions and the risks associated therewith, (h) foreign exchange controls and currency fluctuations, and (i) our ability to retain key personnel. For additional information regarding known material factors that could cause our actual results to differ from our projected results, please see our filings with the SEC, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements after the date they are made, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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