Auto Sales Per U.S. Dealership Seen Setting Record in ’13

U.S. auto sales per dealership probably will climb to a record in 2013 as carmakers contain the number of their outlets and boost vehicle deliveries for a fourth straight year, according to an industry consulting firm.

Annual sales per dealer will increase to an estimated 839 vehicles from last year’s record of 812, consulting firm Urban Science said today in an e-mailed statement. The Detroit-based company used an industry estimate for this year of 15 million car and light-truck sales.

Auto dealers are getting a boost from U.S. light-vehicle sales that have climbed by at least 10 percent each of the last three years, including a 13 percent increase last year that was the biggest since 1984. Those sales are being achieved through a retail network that shrank as part of the 2009 bankruptcies of General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC’s predecessors.

“We have a good balance of sales and stores, allowing for fewer incentives and increased dealership profitability,” John Frith, vice president of retail channel solutions at Urban Science, said in the statement.

Vehicles sold per dealership is a crucial figure to dealers. In addition to revenue from selling new cars, the sales of those vehicles lead to high-margin parts and service business, Kevin Tynan, a senior analyst for Bloomberg Industries in Skillman, New Jersey, said last week.

The number of U.S. auto dealerships rose 0.5 percent to 17,851 last year, according to the statement. Urban Science estimates that the “normal” level of sales per dealership will settle at about 830.

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