What happened

Shares of Carvana Co. (NYSE:CVNA), an e-commerce platform for buying used cars, are bouncing 12% higher Thursday as of 10:51 a.m. EDT, after the company delivered a strong first quarter.

So what

Shares are moving higher due to a 122% increase in retail units sold to 18,464, and a 127% increase in revenue to $360.4 million -- topping analysts' estimates calling for $354 million. Carvana's adjusted earnings per share checked in with a loss of $0.40, which was a penny per share worse than analysts had hoped. But the strong top-line growth was enough to please investors and send the stock higher.

"We have opened 18 new markets already in 2018 and are on track to serve 57 percent of the U.S. population by the end of the year," said Ernie Garcia, Carvana co-founder and CEO, in a press release. "Consumers are responding to the new way to buy a car, and we expect to deliver our fifth straight year of triple digit growth in 2018."

Carvana's vending machine at night, lit up and filled with cars.

Carvana's Houston vending machine. Image source: Carvana Co.

Now what

Another strong highlight from Carvana's first quarter was its total gross profit per unit, which increased $685 compared to the prior year up to $1,854. Management getting its total gross profit per unit up to roughly $3,000 will be a critical factor to turning a profit. For now, Total gross profit jumped 251% to $34.2 million, making for a great start to 2018.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.