NEW YORK – New York Metro region franchised new car dealers generated $53.4 billion for the downstate regional economy in 2019, supporting 12.1% of all retail jobs, according to a new economic audit report from Auto Outlook, Inc. The study is based on 2019 financial data from detailed dealership surveys of new vehicle retailers that belong to the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA).
Whether investing in capital improvements, providing millions to charitable causes, or serving New Yorkers every day by maintaining the vehicles they rely on to keep their families safe, these small business are vital to New Yorkers.
Franchised new car dealers are the fifth largest retail employer in downstate New York - Long Island, New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange and Dutchess counties - helping to support 72,200 jobs with a total payroll of $4.6 billion. Following the economic ravages of the pandemic, the industry’s regional job impact will be even further magnified, as dealers continue to hire as other industries significantly downsize.
From 2016 to 2019 industry job growth increased by 5.2% and is expected to continue rising. At the same time, employee earnings expanded 12.2%. Metro area dealerships directly employed 39,900 people in 2019, with an additional 32,300 employed through the impact of dealership operations.
Including benefits, the average dealer payroll grew 15.7% between 2016 and 2019, from roughly $6.5 million to $7.5 million, with some 75% of all dealership employees union-represented.
“From the tens of thousands of well-paying jobs to the billions in taxes generated, which support communities throughout the state, people don't realize just how important franchised new car and truck dealerships are to the local economies of the metro area,” said Mark Schienberg, President of GNYADA. “Whether investing in capital improvements, providing millions to charitable causes, or serving New Yorkers every day by maintaining the vehicles they rely on to keep their families safe, these small business are vital to New Yorkers.”
Dealers = Hundreds of Local Small Businesses:
Most downstate New York dealerships are smaller, locally owned mom and pop businesses, who like their peers are struggling amidst the prolonged economic downturn. As a result of the Spring 2020 pandemic lockdown, 81% reported being on course to closing their business if reopening did not occur within months.
The State of New York immediately declared dealer service and repair operations to be essential businesses to provide necessary safety repairs and warranty servicing. Then in late March it allowed remote-only sales and leasing activities. In the first week of May, appointment-only sales and leasing visits were permitted, using strict safety protocols.
“Even as shutdown orders forced many businesses to close their doors, within days new car dealers in the New York Metro region were deemed critical to keeping essential workers on the road, protecting access to medicine, health care, the food supply, and other necessities, while allowing front line first responders to serve,” said Schienberg.
That “essential” designation was demonstrated in the survey’s findings that downstate dealers serviced more than 10 million passenger and fleet vehicles during 2019. Dealerships serviced, on average, 450 vehicles each week, or about 23,400 each per year
Tax Revenue Generation:
With state and municipal tax revenues currently lagging as a result of Covid-19, the economic analysis found that downstate New York’s franchise new car dealerships were responsible for generating nearly $2.6 billion in local and state tax revenues in 2019.
Dealers in the 12 downstate counties account for 63% of all vehicle sales in the state.
As state and local governments are contemplating cuts to crucial services because of budget shortfalls, the retail auto industry has proven itself as a brick-and-mortar anchor on Main Streets and neighborhoods across New York, providing career opportunities in sales, management and maintenance.
Local Impact – Charitable Impacts & Capital Improvements:
The study found that with so many New Yorkers in need and social services at risk, GNYADA auto dealers contributed $21 million to charitable causes in 2019, often serving as the most prominent philanthropic organizations in their communities.
In 2018 and 2019 combined, dealerships spent $420 million in construction for capital improvements to their facilities, stimulating further spending.