Automotive Dealerships Similar in Number; New-Car Sales Up

automotive dealershipsAutomotive advertising is apparently working very well, though automotive dealerships remained similar in number last year. What changed significantly was the average number of new vehicles sold per dealership.

Numbers compiled by Urban Science, a Detroit-based retail consulting company, showed that as of January 1 of this year there were 17,838 auto dealerships, a dip of 0.1 percent from the January 1, 2013 figure of 17,851.

There are a couple things that you should recall: If you don’t include the last Suzuki and Maybach stores that closed in 2013, there are actually a few more dealerships than before. Part of that can be attributed to the recent movement by Chrysler, which wants all its brands available at every store. Chrysler also added more than 210 Fiat locations in 2013.

Automotive Dealerships: Sales are Up

On the sales side, the news is encouraging. In 2013, there were 15.6 million new light-vehicle sales – an average of 874 per store. This is a nice increase over what the previous record average of 812.

The states with the most new dealerships were California with 34; and Texas, with 15. John Frith of Urban Science believes there is now a good balance between the number of stores and franchises out there, making it more likely dealerships can survive a future economic downturn.

Automotive Dealerships: More Employees

When you combine these numbers with previously-released figures from NADA from 2012 (the 2013 figures don’t come out until July), the outlook is good for automotive dealerships. Total employment at all new-vehicle stores jumped to 963,400 from the 2011 total of 933,500. The number of employees of the average American dealership rose from 53 to 55; and the average weekly earnings of new-car dealership employees was $1,030, an increase of 9% from the year prior. The average new-car dealership’s annual payroll was $2.9 million, up 12% from 2011.

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