Oregon Public Broadcasting

Lithia Motors is reporting strong fourth quarter profits. The Medford-based auto chain says profits more than doubled over the previous year.

The company's earnings report shows Lithia had a net income of 16.4 million dollars in what turned out to be its best fourth-quarter showing ever.  

Troy Reinhardt is a partner at Northwest Quadrant Wealth Management in Bend.  He says the news marks a stunning turnaround for the company.  Back in 2008 with the credit crunch in full effect, Lithia began a major restructuring.  The company shed both dealerships and jobs.  Today, Reinhardt says Lithia is in a better position since credit is less tight and the average car has been out on the road for nearly 11 years. Reinhardt says people are feeling better about the economy finally replacing their older vehicles.

According to a press release put out by Lithia, new vehicle same store sales were up nearly 30 percent in the fourth quarter.  At the same time used vehicle same store sales were up more than 20 percent.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.