US dealer group Lithia Motors has announced a 56% rise in net earnings to $US7.9 million in the second quarter of 2002 compared to $5.1 million in the second quarter of 2001. Earnings per share rose 16% to $0.43 per share versus $0.37 in the same period last year. Net earnings for the first six months of 2002 rose 81% to $14.3 million compared to $7.9 million in the same period last year. Earnings per share increased 47% to $0.85 per share.