NORTHFIELD, IL - Fewer owners and managers of small automotive and other vehicle dealerships indicated during the third quarter of 2007 that they are planning for expansion during the next 12 to 24 months, according to the latest Small Business Research Board (SBRB) study released here today.

Prospective facilities based activities - expansion at current locations and the addition of new locations - were noted by 40% of the respondents intending to expand as their primary methods for growing their businesses. The addition of new locations topped the rankings with 24% of the vote while expansion at current locations was mentioned by 16% of the participants.

Enhancing customer services capabilities had 19% of the vote.

Providing more services was cited by 16% of the companies and the addition of new products was cited by 14% during the third quarter as being their leading method for assisting in their business expansion in the coming months.

Where productivity is concerned, the owners and managers of the small transportation companies said they would be most likely to add staff and improve employee training programs before embarking on other programs to boost efficiencies according to the SBRB Automotive & Vehicle Dealer Industry Report. Enhancements to existing automation or technology or the addition of new automation or technology finished third and fourth respectively on the list of prospective productivity improvement measures. The enhancement of employee incentive programs finished fifth in the third quarter rankings.

More than 800 small businesses participated in the overall nationwide third quarter SBRB poll supported by IPA. IPA, with more than 1,800 professionals, is the largest privately-held provider of management consulting services to small and medium-size businesses in North America. IPA is based in Buffalo Grove, IL.