DULUTH, Ga. — Sonic Automotive and Asbury Automotive Group both reported record increases in first quarter earnings over last year, with Sonic experiencing a total revenue increase of 8.1 percent. Asbury Automotive’s total revenue increased 15 percent.

Sonic’s first-quarter net income from continuing operations was $21.7 million, as it retailed 30,590 new units and 26,469 used vehicles. In March, the company hit a record for used-vehicle sales volume, retailing nearly 9,400 vehicles for the month.

"For 14 consecutive quarters, we have grown revenue when compared to the prior year without adding any dealerships, and are pleased with the quarter's operating and financial results,” said Sonic President B. Scott Smith. “Our operating performance continues to improve year over year, as we have focused on executing our playbooks and being predictable, repeatable and sustainable. This is our year to execute."

The company’s total gross profit was up 3.1 percent vs. the year-ago period. The group’s parts and service gross profit was up 1 percent (up 4.2 percent adjusted for two less selling days in 1Q2013). Finance and insurances was at $65,494 for the quarter, over $57,584 last year.

Asbury Automotive Group Inc. reported income from continuing operations for the first quarter 2013 of $23.9 million. It also reported a total gross profit increase of 12 percent, as it realized increases from all business lines.

Its new-vehicle retail revenues and used-vehicle retail revenues were both up 16 percent. Finance and insurance revenues were up 25 percent, at $1,293 per vehicle.

"I am thrilled with the success our stores are demonstrating in an extremely competitive industry that is benefitting from recovering sales volumes, attractive financing rates and the availability of great new products,” said  Craig T. Monaghan, Asbury's president and chief executive officer. “With the right strategies and brands, our people are making the difference."