Urban Science: U.S. Auto Dealers Average Sales Per Store Declines While Retail Network Remains Stable


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Urban Science's 2017 Automotive Franchise Activity Report indicated continued stability in the number of automotive dealerships in the United States. Urban Science is based in Detroit.

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Urban Science, a global retail consulting firm headquartered in Detroit, released statistics and insights Wednesday from its 2017 Automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR), indicating continued stability in the number of automotive dealerships in the United States.

As of January 1, 2018, there were 18,213 dealerships, a 0.2 percent increase from the January 1, 2017 total of 18,170. The number of franchises, or brands a dealership sells, also experienced a period of stability, slightly increasing from 32,012 on January 1, 2017 to 32,029 as of January 1, 2018. 

“The sales throughput for 2017 was 947 per dealership (on average). This throughput was down 18 units from 2016 levels,” says Mitchell Phillips, Urban Science’s global director of data. “With the stable dealership count trend as we have seen for the past several years and an industry forecast that is slightly declining from 2017, we expect the sales throughput to decline in 2018.”

“Over the last seven years, the dealership network has set a new normal pattern of stability. The data shows that 97 percent of local markets had virtually no net change (+/- 1 dealership). That said, the most significant (net) dealership increases occurred in Texas, 15 dealerships; Florida, 11 dealerships; Pennsylvania, 10 dealerships; Mississippi, Missouri, and New York, five dealerships each.”

Urban Science maintains a list of current new vehicle dealership and franchise information for all car and light truck brands in the U.S.

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 an annual analysis for the previous year in its Automotive Franchise Activity Report.

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