FORD LAUDERDALE, Fla. – AutoNation’s F&I operations, or what the group refers to as Customer Financial Services, lived above $1,500 in F&I gross profit per vehicle retailed (PVR) in 2015, with the business unit’s full-year revenues rising by $100.5 million from 2014.
The group’s F&I operation’s full-year PVR average was $1,538, up $124 from 2014. For the fourth quarter, the business unit’s PVR average came in at $1,556, up $109 from 2014’s end-of-year quarter.
Total F&I revenue for 2015 increased 13.5% from a year ago to $846.1 million. For the fourth quarter, revenues increased 14.4% from the year-ago period to $210 million.
The nation’s largest dealer group posted full-year revenue of 20.9 million, up 9% from the prior year. Total gross profit was $3.3 billion, up 9% from the year-ago period. Operating income for the full year was $873 million, an increase of 6% over the prior year.
“Our primary assumption for 2016 industry new-vehicle unit sales is above 17 million for the year,” said Mike Jackson, the group’s chairman, CEO and president.
For the fourth quarter 2015, revenues totaled $5.3 billion, up 6% from the year-ago period. Total gross profit was $812 million, up 4% from the year-ago period, while operating income fell 12% to $200 million.
Retail new-vehicle sales for the fourth quarter increased 4% from a year ago to 86,740 units. For the full year, the dealer group bested 2014 sales by more than 21,000 units for a total of 339,080 units sold.
“The fourth quarter industry sales environment was more push than pull, resulting in significant new- and used-vehicle margin declines on a combined basis of $217 per vehicle, which is 11% lower than the fourth quarter of 2014,” Jackson noted. “During the quarter, we experienced particular weakness in premium luxury, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter financial results.
“We have begun and will continue through the first quarter to take necessary steps to align our cost, inventory and pricing strategy to the current market,” he added.
On a same-store basis, gross profit for variable operations was $450 million in the fourth quarter, down 4% from the year-ago period. Variable gross was $3,350 on a per vehicle retail basis, a decrease of $125 from the prior year, while new and used same-store unit volume was flat compared to the year-ago period.
Additionally, new-vehicle revenue for the fourth quarter was $3 billion, a $61 million increase from a year ago.
Jackson noted that 2015 was a historical year for AutoNation, as the group celebrated the sale of its 10 millionth vehicle. “We implemented our industry-leading recall policy,” he added. “We acquired 51 franchises with approximately $1 billion in annual revenue, and we built our brand and kicked off our drive pink campaign from coast to coast.”
Asked if the auto finance environment will remain a key driver of sales — particularly with a million more off-lease vehicle returning to the market — Jackson responded, “I see absolutely no sign of difficulties in auto finance.”
“I first think on the consumers’ commitment to pay for the car loans, whether it’s lease or finance,” he added. “It’s unwavering. So no alarm bells there.”