Urban Science Franchise Activity Report shows healthier, more profitable dealer network returning to pre-recession form
DETROIT – Urban Science released 2012 midyear statistics and insights from its automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR), which shows that the U.S. dealership network remains stable, healthy and poised to reach record-breaking throughput and profitability levels by the end of the year.
Because of a downsized retail network and year-end projected sales of 14.3 million, Urban Science projects the average number of sales per dealership, or throughput, will rise to 805 vehicles per year. This increase would be an all-time high, surpassing the previous record of 784, based on 17 million unit sales in 2005.
“The first six months of the year have been very strong for automotive retailers,” said John Frith, vice president, retail channel solutions, Urban Science. “Automakers have kept their networks relatively flat, giving existing dealerships the opportunity to take advantage of increased sales volume. By doing this, and in turn achieving record throughput levels, dealers are making a profit for the first time in more than three years without having to rely on their service departments to do so.”
As of June 30, 2012, there were 17,770 dealerships (rooftops) in the United States, a 0.02 percent increase from January 2012, and the nation’s dealership network is trending to achieve its second straight annual store increase after growing by 0.6 percent in 2011. Urban Science data shows that in the long term, the network typically experiences a 2 percent decline per year, making an increase, even a slight increase, significant.
“While individual states experienced minor dealer count fluctuations, 85 percent of markets in the United States remained stable and experienced no change since the beginning of the year,” added Frith. “We’re seeing tremendous consistency across the country and perhaps one of the most stable, profitable periods for dealerships in 20 years.”
Other details from the midyear FAR include:
- The three states that added the most stores in the first six months of 2012 were California (13), Iowa (eight) and Florida (eight).
- The three states that lost the most dealerships were Michigan (10), Ohio (eight) and Georgia (eight).
- Saab eliminated 187 franchises across the nation, including 59 standalone dealerships.
While the number of dealerships increased slightly, the number of franchises (the number of brands a dealership sells) declined slightly to 29,233, a 1 percent decrease from January 1, 2012.
Urban Science also release data on China’s growing automotive dealer network. Click here to read the results of that study.
About the Automotive Franchise Activity Report
Urban Science maintains a list of current new vehicle dealership and franchise information for all car and light truck brands in the United States. Compiled on a monthly basis, the census is the most reliable source of dealership statistics. The data comes from a variety of sources, including feeds from automotive manufacturers as well as phone and field verification. Urban Science has been collecting this information since 1990 and compiles a yearly analysis every February for the previous year in its annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report.
About Urban Science:
Founded in 1977, Urban Science is a global retail consulting firm that takes a scientific approach to help companies identify where they should allocate resources in order to increase their market share and profitability in the most effective and efficient manner. With headquarters in Detroit, Urban Science serves its global clientele from offices in the United States, Spain, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Australia, China, Mexico, Russia and Japan. For more information on Urban Science, visit www.urbanscience.com.