The haul of £38.9 million follows a good year for the UK car industry, with Europe's second largest market growing by 11% to 2.26 million registrations.
Pendragon's upmarket brand Stratstone boosted operating profits by £1 million to £26.9 million in the year, helped by particularly strong sales for BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz.
The division, which features 84 franchises, increased new registrations by 14%, compared with 11% for the brands that it represents.
Evans Halshaw, which is the UK's leading volume motor car retailer with 132 franchise points, increased new car volumes by 20% in the period, driven by its Ford, Vauxhall, Renault, Peugeot and Hyundai franchises.
The division's operating profits rose by £400,000 to £27.4 million as it focused on expansion opportunities in the year.
Nottingham-based Pendragon added that its online performance topped expectations, with growth of 22% and over 13 million website visits.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has predicted car sales will grow 1.2% this year, which equates to sales volumes of 2.29 million.
Chief executive Trevor Finn said: "We are confident that 2014 will be another year of good performance."