DETROIT — Statistics and insights from Urban Science’s 2016 year-end Automotive Franchise Activity Report indicate continued stability in the U.S. dealer body and a near-miss of the per-store sales record set in 2015.
Analysts with the global retail consulting firm counted 18,170 rooftops as of Jan. 1, a 0.5% increase from a year ago. The total number of franchises housed by those stores increased slightly from 31,776 to 32,011 in the same period, but per-store sales fell by an average of one vehicle.
“The sales throughput for 2016 was 965 per dealership. This throughput narrowly missed setting another record level by one unit due to the stable but increasing count of dealerships in 2016,” said Mitchell Phillips, Urban Science’s global director of data. “With the current dealership count trend as we have seen for the past several years and a stable current industry forecast, exceeding the 2016 level is questionable.”
Phillips reported that 96% of local markets held steady in 2016, noting that the most significant gains were recorded in Texas (15 new dealerships), Florida (14), Arizon (nine), Massachusetts (eight), and New York (seven).
“An interesting observation is California, which is typically on the most active list, is no longer included on the most active list, demonstrating a period of stability,” Phillips added.