The latest Franchise Activity Report from Urban Science indicates fewer per-store sales as overall volume decreases and the dealer network remains stable. Photo by Jo Jakeman
DETROIT — Statistics and insights compiled in Urban Science’s mid-year Automotive Franchise Activity Report indicate continued stability in the number of automotive dealerships in the United States, presaging a fall in per-store sales.
As of July 1, there were 18,199 rooftops, a 0.2% increase from the 18,170 dealerships recorded in January. The number of brands a dealership sells also experienced a period of stability, slightly increasing from 32,012 on January 1 to 32,046 as of July 1.
“Over the last several years, the dealership network has set a new normal pattern of stability,” wrote Mitch Phillips, Urban Science’s global director of data. “The data shows that 98% of local markets had virtually no net change (+/- one dealership). That said, the most significant (net) dealership increases occurred in Texas, nine dealerships; Florida, seven dealerships; Pennsylvania, six dealerships; Missouri, five dealerships; and Ohio, four dealerships. An interesting observation is California and New York, both typically on the most active list, are no longer included on the most active list, demonstrating a period of stability.”
Defining “sales throughput” as number of sales divided by dealer count, Phillips expects sales to decline on a store-by-store basis.
“With a stable dealer count, the throughput record is controlled by the sales volume,” he wrote. “With the current range of 2017 sales forecasts being less than 2016, throughput is forecasted to fall around 25 units to 940 units.”