Holiways, a small dealer group in County Durham, saw its pre-tax profits rise 46% last year.
The franchised retailer, which has Ford dealerships in Hartlepool, Durham, Newton Aycliffe and Bishop Auckland, increased pre-tax profits by £100,000 to £317,000.
That was despite turnover remaining flat at £38.5 million.
The group told regional newspaper The Journal: "As the economic downturn started affecting the business, pressure in the industry intensified and the company had to take positive steps to combat it.
"The key factors were that the company felt it had to be bold, flexible and ahead of the market, and in doing so it was heavily reliant upon leadership, staff and customer base.
"Essential to the company's performance are vehicle sales and it was yet again pleasing to achieve new sales in excess of manufacturer's objectives, despite falling markets.
"Also, the aftersales departments achieved satisfactory results and managed to outperform the previous year's figures."