US: auto dealers sales reach new record in 2013 image

Detroit-based consultant group Urban Science said that the 17,838 US dealerships have set a record for most sales per average dealership in 2013 – up 7.6%, although the network actually contracted by 0.1%.

In 2009 and 2010 the dealer network fell by several thousand locations, but for the past four years its base has remained constant – even though Ford shut its Mercury brand and GM closed the Pontiac, Saturn, Hummer and Saab brands.

“Over the last five years, the dealership network has set a new normal pattern,” said John Frith, vice president of Urban Science. “Maintaining this very conservative rate has allowed the U.S. network to continue its impressive increase in sales per dealer, creating a healthy and right-sized retail structure that benefits the dealers and automakers.”

Urban Science’s analysis, based on 2013 vehicle sales of 15.6 million, has a an average of 874 sales per dealership, up 62 sales from 2012’s average of 812 and significantly higher than the recent low of 564 sales registered back in 2009.

Urban Science also estimates that if 2014 vehicle sales reach 16.15 million, according to some analysts projections, then 2013’s record could be overcome by a new average number – 914 per dealership.