The company posted underlying pre-tax profits of £10.1m for the 12 months to 31 December, compared with a loss of £33.6m in 2008.
But it warned that the market would not be returning to pre-recession levels for some time.
Chief executive Trevor Finn said: “The group has successfully dealt with the most challenging market conditions experienced since the nineties.
“We acted swiftly to implement significant cost saving and debt reduction actions. While we anticipate our market will remain difficult in 2010, we are well positioned to focus on the profit opportunities that will drive our core business forward.”
The company has 276 franchises after a series of cutbacks in 2009.
It closed 26 outlets with the loss of 879 jobs. Revenues dropped to £3.2bn in the year, compared with £4.2bn, as it reduced its fleet activity and was affected by a smaller new car market.
But the firm saw a turnaround in demand for luxury cars at its Stratstone dealership.