BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. – Penske Automotive posted a 44 percent drop in third-quarter profits as sales of new and used vehicles continued to decline. The company also lowered its outlook.

Net income for the company, which has 300 locations in 19 states, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdon, fell $24.2 million from the year-ago period. Revenue fell 12 percent to $3 billion from $3.4 billion. Vehicle sales during the period fell 15 percent to $2.28 billion from $2.67 billion last year.

Same-store retail sales decreased 17 percent, as same-store unit sales of new vehicles fell 19.3 percent during the quarter. Additionally, same-store F&I revenues dropped 16.1 percent, which Roger Penske, Chairman and CEO, attributed to softness in new-vehicle sales.

The company also said it cut its work force by 4.3 percent as a response to market decisions, slashing $24 million from its annual personnel expenses.

"Obviously, it was a difficult quarter for our industry," said Penske. "However, I think our business posted a solid profit despite the market conditions. By far, the biggest challenge was the lack of consumer traffic at our dealership, particularly in September.

"I think it's important to note that contrary to media reports, we believe the decline in new-vehicle sales at our dealerships is related to consumer traffic, not a lack of credit availability."