Urban Science today announced highlights from its 2022 midyear Automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR), which shows continued stability for the U.S. automotive retail network despite continued inventory shortages during the first six months of the year. As of July 1, 2022, there were five more dealerships (rooftops) in the country compared to the same date in 2021 (18,235 this year compared to 18,230 last year); the number of franchises – brands a dealership sells – decreased slightly from 31,646 last year to 31,579 during the same period.
According to the Urban Science FAR, a record-high 99% of core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) in the U.S. had virtually no net change (+/- one store) in dealerships. 91% of CBSAs had no actual net change in dealerships; 4% of CBSAs (net) lost at least one store and 5% (net) gained at least one store. The most significant state-level changes were net increases in California (+12) and Texas (+7) and net decreases in Michigan (-5), Florida (-4) and Indiana (-4).
Since the current range of industry sales forecasts for 2022 is slightly less than last year and dealer count remained stable throughout Q1/Q2 2022, Urban Science projects average throughput – the number of vehicles a dealership sells – to fall slightly from 826 units per store last year to 821 units in 2022. But while average throughput is expected to dip, dealers have significant opportunity to gain momentum and competitive advantage by positioning themselves to meet rapidly evolving consumer needs, including heightening demand for electric vehicles (EVs).
While industry sales declined slightly during Q1/Q2 2022, EV* sales in the U.S. continued to grow. Urban Science reports EV sales in the U.S. increased 41% in the first half of 2022 compared to the same timeframe in 2021; the share of EV sales also increased from 3.6% of all U.S. new-vehicle sales in the first half of 2021 to 6.2% during the same period in 2022 – a 72% year-over-year increase.