Special Report: Behind The Scenes Dealership Numbers

Car dealership
Photo Credit: goodluz/Shutterstock
The NADA Data financial profile of new-car dealerships is now published twice a year-as a full annual review at year-end and as a midyear update.

The midyear 2019 review features the many major milestones achieved by the retail auto industry during the first six months of 2019, including such highlights as:

  • The nation’s 16,741 franchised light-vehicle dealers sold 8.41 million light-duty vehicles.
  • Total light-vehicle dealership sales topped $518 billion.
  • Dealerships wrote more than 162 million repair orders, with service and parts sales totaling over $62 billion
  • The average annual earnings for employees at new-car dealerships was $72,800 in 2018, up from $71,916 in 2017, a 1.3-percent increase.
  • At the end of June 2019, dealership employment once again topped 1 .1 million employees.

In addition to the direct employment provided by dealerships, hundreds of thousands of other jobs in local communities are dependent on dealerships. Dealerships spend billions of dollars in their communities on contracting and other services, and this included more than $66 billion in wages to dealership employees during 2018.

For the past several years, dealership employees have seen steady increases in their incomes as well as in their total compensation. Dealership jobs offer compensation that is significantly higher than in other retail sectors, and dealers continue to boast one of the highest average salaries of all industries—though we expect to see dealership employment remain flat throughout 2019.

While employment at a dealership is one of the best paths to the middle-class American dream (and has been so consistently for decades), customers also have benefited. There is healthy competition between dealers to sell and service vehicles, which has meant consistently good deals for consumers.

Sales in the average U.S. dealership were up slightly in 2018, driven by increases in all departments. As margins on the sale of a new car have fallen since the Great Recession of 2008, dealers have done an excellent job focusing on their service and parts business. Since 2010, service and parts sales in the average dealership have increased by 5.4% per year on an average annualized basis.
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Alex Scotten
Wow! 73,000 is pretty good. That figure must be for salespeople that sell the most cars. Everyone knows that a salesperson's salary is based on the commission that is made from selling a vehicle and not just showing up for work like, say, an office environment. I'm going to dread going into a dealership in ten months when my lease is up. I'll just walk away if I feel I'm being too pressured.
The Car Pro
Alex, good to hear from you. Remember, that average includes the owners salary, the GM, the Controller, the General Sales Manager, Service Director, some REALLY well paid technicians, and the list goes on.

Sales people pay is substantially lower than the average.

If you follow my process, you'll have nothing to fear.

Jerry Reynolds