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In the five years that have passed since the economic crash of 2009, the auto retailing sector has emerged from the ashes. The transition has been painful. There are fewer car dealers in 2014. Many have been pressed by automakers to invest in new stores. Consumers in some rural areas have to drive greater distances to find a dealership now. And the dealership they visit is probably larger than the older hometown store and possibly owned by a large retail group. But what was a bitter industry shakeout for some in 2009 has led to better times in auto retailing in 2014 for others. “We have fewer dealers, and the throughput is higher,” reports John Frith, vice president of the auto retail data firm Urban Science. “The dealers who are still in business are doing better. The industry on average is much healthier than it was then.”
Dealers have been flush with robust volumes, and August sales closed at an annualized sales rate of more than 17.5 million vehicles. Urban Science reports that the average dealership in America is projected to sell 904 new vehicles this year, up from 660 in 2008. As of Jan. 1, the number of U.S. new-car dealerships had increased slightly from the year before — to 17,665 dealerships — following decades of annual declines, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Source: Automotive News