UPDATE 1-New-vehicle sales boost Group 1 profit


* Q1 EPS $0.97 vs est $0.88

* Q1 rev $1.66 bln vs est $1.59 bln

* New-vehicle sales up 16 pct to $912.6 mln

* Used-vehicle retail sales up 28 pct to $415 mln (Adds details, indutry background)

April 26 (Reuters) - Group 1 Automotive, one of the largest U.S. retail auto dealer groups, posted its biggest quarterly profit ever as sales of new vehicles surged and pricing improved.

Group 1's market-topping results follow strong performances from peers AutoNation Inc and Lithia Motors Inc as dealers benefit from recovering U.S. auto sales.

Group 1 said it expects new vehicle industry sales of 14.5 million units in 2012.

The company is heavily reliant on Toyota Motor for its sales. In the first quarter, Toyota's new-vehicle sales rose 12 percent.

Houston-based Group 1's revenue from new vehicles rose 16 percent to $912.6 million, while sales of its smaller used-vehicle retail segment jumped 28 percent.

January-March net income rose to $23.1 million, or 97 cents per share, from $15.4 million, or 64 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 18 percent to $1.66 billion.

Analysts had expected a profit of 88 cents on revenue of $1.59 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company, which is valued at $1.29 billion, closed at $57.95 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)



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