Lithia Motors hit with loss of $5.1 million

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

MEDFORD Lithia Motors will slow acquisitions but push on with plans to build a new headquarters despite reporting a preliminary $5.1 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2007.

Sid DeBoer, chairman and CEO for the Medford-based auto dealer, blamed the loss in part on recessionary market conditions and lower customer counts at most of the company’s 110 stores.

“Since we sell a large ticket to the consumer, discretionary products that must be financed, we felt the impact,” he said in the company’s fourth-quarter conference call. In response, he said the company would cut personnel, advertising, travel and other costs going forward.

President and CEO Bryan DeBoer said during the call that acquisitions would be scaled back, though no specifics were provided. Last year Lithia Motors added five stores in two states.

The company will break ground this spring on its $150 million headquarters in downtown Medford, and Robert Sacks, community relations director for Lithia, says he knows of no plans to scale back the development, set to be finished in 2010.

JAMIE HARTFORD



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