Franchised dealer count steady; Texas shows most gains

CARY, N.C. - 

Continuing a “normal pattern of stability,” the franchised auto dealer count in the U.S. climbed modestly in the first half of the year, with 98 percent of markets showing no real change, according to Urban Science.

The firm’s 2017 mid-year Automotive Franchise Activity Report indicates there were 18,199 dealership rooftops as of July 1. That’s up 0.2 percent from January.

The number of franchises was 32,046 on July 1, up from 32,012 at the start of the year.

“Over the last several years, the dealership network has set a new normal pattern of stability,” Urban Science global director of data Mitch Phillips said in a news release.  “The data shows that 98 percent of local markets had virtually no net change (+/- 1 dealership).”

However, Phillips goes on to point out that Texas had the biggest net increase in dealer count at nine, while Florida added seven. Pennsylvania (six added), Missouri (five) and Ohio (four) rounded out the top five.

“An interesting observation is California and New York, both typically on the most active list, are no longer included on the most active list, demonstrating a period of stability,” Phillips said.

While dealer count has remained steady, sales throughput — which is sales divided by dealer count — is likely to dip this year.

“With a stable dealer count, the throughput record is controlled by the sales volume. With the current range of 2017 sales forecasts being less than 2016, throughput is forecasted to fall around 25 units to 940 units,” Phillips said.

Used sales at franchised stores climbs

Turning to a separate analysis, the average used-car sales per store at franchised dealerships in June was slightly more than 49 units, and the average days-to-sell was a little more than 43, according to data that shared with AuSM.

The data is based on internal VIN analysis on dealership websites (which are publicly accessible) by CompetitorPro. The number of franchised dealers in June’s data set was 19,306, as CompetitorPro counts individual franchises as separate dealerships.

Here’s how the used-car sales operation looked like at franchised dealers in June, based on CompetitorPro data.

  • Total used-car inventory: 1,414,204
  • Dealer count in data set: 19,306
  • Average used inventory per store: 73.3
  • Average days in inventory: 26.9
  • Total used-car sales: 948,415
  • Average used-car sales per store: 49.1
  • Average days to sell: 43.1
  • Average price of used cars sold: $18,642

Stay tuned to upcoming print editions of AuSM, where will include a full and updated data set on the used-car market from CompetitorPro. 


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