U.S. Auto Dealers Set Sales Record in 2013 | Edmunds

U.S. Auto Dealers Set Sales Record in 2013

Just the Facts:
  • U.S. auto dealers set a record in 2013 for average new-vehicle sales per dealership.
  • According to industry-consulting group Urban Science, the average number of sales per dealership rose to 874 units in 2013, an increase of 62 sales per dealership from 2012.
  • That makes the fourth straight year of record-setting sales for U.S. auto dealers.

DETROIT — U.S. auto dealers set a record in 2013 for average new-vehicle sales per dealership, according to the latest Automotive Franchise Activity Report from industry consulting group Urban Science.

Urban Science says that average sales per dealership last year reached 874 units, an increase of 62 from 2012 and up from a low of 564 sales per dealer in 2009. That makes 2013 the fourth straight year of record-setting sales.

If the trend continues, according to Urban Science, U.S. vehicle sales could reach 16.15 million in 2014, spiking the sales per dealer to another record at 914, a figure the report calls "astonishing." Eventually, the firm says to expect average sales to normalize at around 850.

As of January 1, 2014, there were 17,838 dealerships in the U.S., a 0.1 percent decrease from the same time last year. The number of brands being sold also decreased, by 0.5 percent, which Urban Science says is partially the result of the closing of 220 Suzuki franchises.

Due to the economic downturn that began in 2008, a large number of U.S. dealerships were closed and brands discontinued. According to the 2011 NADA State of the Industry Report, 1,550 dealerships closed in 2009 and 760 more in 2010.

Since that time, says Urban Science, the number of franchises has remained relatively stable, so the slight decrease in 2013 is no cause for concern, and the expectation is that the dealer network will continue to hold steady.

"When it comes to the number of dealerships and franchises, there's no question we're in the midst of a very comfortable balance with sales," said John Frith, vice president of Urban Science, in a statement. "We see no indication that any dramatic changes are to be expected in the near future."

The annual Automotive Franchise Activity Report, released each February, is the result of data that has been compiled monthly since 1990 by Detroit-based Urban Science. The information is collected from a variety of sources, including dealers and automakers, and is verified by phone and in person by the firm's researchers.

Edmunds says: Increasing sales and a stable number of dealerships are good news for both the industry and consumers.

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