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Lithia Motors Reports First Quarter 2009 Results

MEDFORD, Ore.--Lithia Motors, Inc. announced today that net income from continuing operations in the first quarter of 2009 was $0.2 million or one cent per diluted share, the same as prior year. Consolidated net income for the first quarter of 2009 was six cents per share after inclusion of one cent per share income from continuing operations and five cents per share income from discontinued operations and disposal activities. In the quarter, the Company had a net benefit from certain items of $1.5 million, including a gain on early extinguishment of debt and a net gain on asset sales and dispositions, partially offset by asset impairment charges.

First quarter 2009 revenue totaled $398 million, compared to $567 million in the year-ago period, driven primarily by lower vehicle sales. Same store sales for new and used vehicle retail sales declined 39.9% and 13.0% respectively, when compared to the same quarter last year. Parts and service same-store sales declined 6.3% compared to the same quarter of last year.

Sid DeBoer, Lithia’s Chairman and CEO, commented: “We are pleased to post a profit in the first quarter of 2009. Despite the declining revenue base and decreasing same store sales, we were able to improve gross margins in each of our business lines and continue to reduce costs. As business conditions remain challenging, we have accelerated our cost reduction program. We now project our annualized cost savings on continuing operations to exceed $55 million.

“We continue to strengthen our balance sheet. We were in compliance with all debt covenants at the end of the quarter. As of today, only $6.9 million of our convertible notes due in May 2009 remain outstanding. We have generated approximately $41 million of cash since January 1st from financings, the sale of assets and other activities. Our liquidity is strong, including cash and availability on our credit facilities of approximately $52 million.

“We continue to execute the restructuring plan announced in June 2008. Of the 31 stores we identified for disposal, 20 have been divested to date,” concluded Mr. DeBoer.

The first quarter conference call may be accessed at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time today by phone at 973-409-9255 Conference ID: 95124108. A playback of the conference call will be available after 5 p.m. Pacific Time April 29, 2009 through May 8, 2009 by calling 800-642-1687 access code: 95124108.