A consulting firm has boosted its auto sales estimate for 2012 to 14.3 million vehicles, but the big news is that, in aggregate, dealers are again making money selling cars.

Bloomberg reports that annual sales per dealer will jump to 805 vehicles according to Urban Science. That would be a new record, as despite this year's total sales number being some four million units shy of 2007 levels, there are far fewer car dealers in operation today.

The previous record was set in 2005, when the figure was 784 vehicles sold per dealer, according to the report. Both Chrysler and General Motors shed hundreds of franchises during their bankruptcies, but dealership ranks shrunk independent of that fact. Urban Science says the number of car dealers usually shrinks by about 2 percent each year, according to the report.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      Rr778
      • 2 Years Ago
      What are the benefits to the consumer of buying from a middleman, instead of from the source?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rr778
        [blocked]
          Rick C.
          • 2 Years Ago
          Dealers are open on Sundays where I live. Not sure about strip joints, it's been a few years since I've flung dollar bills.
          inthelv
          • 2 Years Ago
          I don't know your political persuasion, but, I agree and I am a die hard, left wing, Democratic, grassroots activist. In my own city there is a really stupid law that there is NO parking anywhere near any car dealerships (the majors, independent mom and pop shops are on their own) so you MUST park on their lots even though all you want to do is take a look. That is nothing but craven pols from both parties ******* up donations and then taking away the freedom to just plain park your car. Also, they are closed on Sundays. This is due to religious pressure though I don't see why strip clubs are open (this is Vegas) and car dealerships are not.
          MikeInNC
          • 2 Years Ago
          @inthelv - not to tell you your own politics but you do sound more libertarian than any other party. Back to the article at hand though, less actual dealerships with same num of cars sold = higher per avg lot sales. No mystery here.
      Orin O'Neill
      • 2 Years Ago
      As you may recall (or do you?), the Detroit Three canned a whole bunch of their dealers a few years ago, so now that sales are picking up, they're spread among fewer dealers. No surprise there.
        Rick C.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Orin O'Neill
        As you may recall (or don't you), that DIDN'T happen to everyone else. The American public went out and bought cars. No surprise there.
          BB79826
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rick C.
          Uh, Rick, when the three companies with the most dealerships close a good portion of their dealerships, the entire industry's numbers are affected. There are a lot fewer dealerships now than there were 5 years ago. That's a fact.
      Generic
      • 2 Years Ago
      They are getting people to sign a contract, they aren't yet paid for. What is the average car loan now days? 5-6 years? It used to be 3-4 years. How many cars sold in 2012 will be repoed before they are fully paid off?
        RudyH
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        Thank you sir! 3 more years, and it reminds me of 2008 again...except that might be a stretch this time...
      mcdull
      • 2 Years Ago
      How about the actual revenue? Number of sales can be misleading. Years ago we negotiated price from sticker price and even saw crazy dealer mark up. Now we negotiate from invoice price and mark up is almost guaranteed to turn the customer away when you can simple find the best price by sending out a few emails. As a matter of fact, I recenlty bought one very popular, one of the best selling in its class, American vehicle for 12% below sticker price, didn't need to negotiate much either.