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Lithia Motors reports increased earnings

Lithia Motors Inc. reported earnings of $1.37 million ­ 19 centsa share ­ for the second quarter, up 84 percent from $741,000 in thesecond quarter of 1996.

Revenues increased 81 percent, to $66.4 million from $36.6 million ayear earlier.

The company, which went public last winter, grew with the acquisitionof Eugene Dodge, Vacaville Toyota and Concord Dodge. New-vehicle sales grewby 90 percent and used-vehicle sales were up by 70 percent. Same store salesimproved 7.6 percent.

Lithia sold 1,488 new vehicles and 1,536 retail used vehicles duringthe quarter.

Lithia, based in Medford, has been able to operate more efficiently througha period of acquisitions, said Sid DeBoer, chairman and chief executiveofficer.

We continue to be reassured by the number of attractive dealershipsavailable for purchase in our target acquisition areas, he said. Thecompany is gathering clusters of franchises in regions with strong economies.

Since the end of the second quarter, June 30, the company acquired Magnussen-BarbeeFord Lincoln Mercury in Napa, Calif., and is expected to complete the acquisitionof Sun Valley Ford Volkswagen in Concord, Calif., by mid-August.

Other pending acquisitions are Bakersfield (Calif.) Nissan and BakersfieldBMW/Acura and the Donnelly Automotive Group, with two Nevada dealerships.