Europe: retail network shrunk slower than the region’s sales contraction rate image

According to a new report coming from Bernstein Research, the continent’s dealer network has been affected less than the overall car market as sales were deeply impacted by the fallout of the 2007 economic crisis.

The research points out that while overall new-car registrations in Europe have fallen by 20% from their pre-recession level of 14.8 million, the number of company-owned and independent dealerships has dipped just 12% to 47,500 in western Europe since 2007. According to Bernstein, while Fiat and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen were among the automakers that moved slowly to reduce dealership numbers, more prominent carmakers – such as Volkswagen Group, Renault and BMW were actively downsizing their retail networks during the downturn. UK-based auto retail analysts ICDP point out that usually the breakeven point for a dealership stands at around 150 cars annually and the loss of around 6,000 European dealerships since 2007 has taken its toll on the average number of cars sold per dealership – from 280 between 2005 and 2007 to 250 a year now.

Bernstein analyst Max Warburton points out in the report that BMW and VW Group brands probably have “the best dealer networks in Europe,” thanks mainly to their retained sales stability – even though they lowered their sales network numbers by 13 and 9%, respectively.

Via Automotive News Europe