MEDFORD, Ore. — Lithia Motors Inc. posted a third-quarter profit of $7 million from continuing operations, an increase from the $2.5 million recorded in the year-ago period.

Third-quarter revenue from continuing operations totaled $458 million, down 9.6 percent from $507 million in the year-ago period, and driven primarily by lower new vehicle sales. Same store new-vehicle sales declined 14.3 percent, while used-vehicle retail sales increased 3.9 percent when compared to the prior year.

Revenue from finance and insurance was $14.7 million in the third quarter, down 24.3 percent from $19.4 million in the year-ago period. Year-to-date, F&I revenue was $41.3 million, down 30.9 percent from $59.7 million.

“Our third quarter results benefited from the CARS program. This incremental boost in revenue demonstrates our earnings potential as new vehicle sales levels recover and we leverage our lower cost structure. We continue to right-size to match industry sales volumes and our internal performance metrics,” Sid DeBoer, Lithia’s Chairman and CEO said.

For the first nine months of the year, same store new-vehicle sales dropped 30.3 percent, while used vehicle retail sales dipped 1.6 percent when compared to the prior year.

Year-to date, income from continuing operations was $11.1 million. Total revenue was $1.2 billion, down, 21.1 percent from $1.6 billion in 2008.