Reflecting increased sales of aftermarket products, the five largest publicly owned major dealer consolidators all boosted their F&I revenues in the third quarter.

Group 1 Automotive CEO B. B. Hollingsworth Jr. says the Houston-based group of 73 dealerships raised their F&I income 25.9% from a year ago to a record $46.0 million or $996 per vehicle retailed.

“When the 0% campaign of the Big 3 cut into our loan income,” Hollingsworth says, “we increased our sales of anti-theft warranty and insurance products and more than offset the decrease.”

Group 1 out-pointed Lithia Motors for top honors in the sector in F&I sales per vehicle. The Medford, OR-based megadealer saw its yield slip 0.7% to $927 per vehicle.

In third place was Sonic Automotive of Charlotte, NC, whose average F&I take per vehicle rose 1.6% to $895 after it absorbed the Massey group with 12 Cadillac stores.

Sonic President Theodore M. Wright, promoted from CFO in November, says the Massey group contributed a “formidable” F&I performance to Sonic, which has 137 dealerships and ranks second among all megachains.

Asbury Automotive, of Stamford, CT, scored an 11% gain to $793, out-pointing Detroit-based UnitedAutoGroup's $765 and No. 1 AutoNation's $763. The UAG average went up 0.4% and that of Fort Lauderdale, FL-based AutoNation, 7%.

Both Group 1 and Lithia have come close to the $1,000 per vehicle F&I product mark. Third-quarter F&I revenues: AutoNation, $138.9 million; Lithia, $24.5 million; Group 1 and Sonic Automotive, $46.0 million; and UAG, $49.9 million. Asbury did not break out its F&I revenues.