Declining new-vehicle sales may signal decline in dealership count

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“It’s been pretty stable year to year since 2010,” said Mitch Phillips, Urban Science’s global data director. He noted the total number of dealerships in the U.S. has, in fact, steadily grown since then.

Urban Science last week released its midyear franchised dealership review showing that U.S. store count is down by 34 outlets to 18,161 as of July 1. The total franchise count slid by 154 to 32,031.

Phillips said the slight drop so far in 2020 is not significant and that it’s too early to tell whether it’s connected to the coronavirus crisis. “Nobody knows exactly for sure until this over, until we can examine it,” he said.

In the case of the Great Recession, the country’s last major economic crisis, lower throughput was a leading indicator of the downturn in the dealership count to come. But each crisis stands alone.

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Saurabh Shukla

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