The average number of new-vehicles sales per dealership last year marked the third consecutive year of improvement, surging nearly 50 units to reach a record 921 units sold per store, according to a study by Urban Science released Wednesday.
While the average number of new-unit sales jumped, the number of dealerships in the U.S. increased only slightly from 2013.
The average number of sales was based on total vehicle sales of 16.5 million at 17,953 dealerships last year. It’s an increase from 874 units on average sold per store in 2013, based on annual sales of 15.6 million units sold at 17,838 stores, a statement said.
Last year’s record is more than one and a half times the average of 564 new vehicles sold per dealership in 2009 and a significant increase from the 812-unit average in 2012.
Urban Science, a retail consulting firm in Detroit, last year expected sales to ultimately steady around 850, and the company is maintaining that prediction.
“The 850 number seems reasonable. The question is: When is this going to be a new stable point?” Global Director Mitch Phillips said in an interview. “There will eventually be a downturn … but I don’t know when the next down is coming.”
For this year, Phillips expects growing sales to continue, projecting an average of 941units sold per store by the end of 2015.
“2015 looks promising,” he said in the statement. “With a stable dealer count, as we have seen over the past several years, and the strong sales forecast which the industry is now predicting, we could see this record broken again.”
Urban Science also reported a slight rise in the number of U.S. dealerships since the end of 2013. There were 17,953 rooftops as of Dec. 31, 2014, a 0.6 percent increase from the 17,838 tally a year earlier.
Brands also increased marginally but still remained relatively stagnant, reaching 31,609 franchises last year from 31,440 in 2013.
Last year 96 percent of local markets had virtually no net change, the statement said. The most prominent dealership increases were in Texas with 18 dealerships, California and Florida with 13 stores, Georgia with 12 and North Carolina with seven.
Texas and California showed the greatest increases in 2012 and 2013.
In 2013, again almost no local markets showed a net change in dealership count. The most significant increases were in California, which added 34 dealerships. Texas was next with 15.