DETROIT – February 21, 2023 – Urban Science® today announced highlights from its 2022 year-end Automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR), which shows continued stability for the U.S. automotive retail network despite the challenges the industry faced regarding ongoing inventory shortages and relatively high car-loan interest rates last year. As of January 1, 2023, there were 27 more dealerships – rooftops – in the U.S. compared to the same date in 2022 (18,257 this year compared to 18,230 last year); the number of franchises – brands a dealership sells – decreased slightly from 31,646 to 31,554 during the same period.
According to the Urban Science FAR, a record-high 97% of core-based statistical areas (CBSAs) in the U.S. had virtually no net change (+/- one store) in dealerships. 88% of CBSAs had no actual net change in dealerships; 5% of CBSAs (net) lost at least one store and 7% (net) gained at least one store. The most significant state-level changes were net increases in California (+25) and Texas (+9) and net decreases in Michigan (-9), and Indiana (-7).
Dealership throughput – the number of vehicles a dealership sells – fell from 826 units to 759 units year over year, a level similar to those in 2011 and 2012 (719 and 812 units, respectively). In an environment with a stable dealership count, throughput is driven primarily by sales volume; considering a sales forecast of 15 million unit sales in 2023, Urban Science projects throughput will rise to around 818 units per store this year barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Non-retail and EV sales rise despite overall sales decline
While overall retail sales declined in 2022, the industry saw upticks in two key areas:
- Non-retail sales rose by 12% year over year; this increase was primarily driven by fleet
- EV* sales increased 46% compared to 2021
- The share of EV sales also increased from 5% of all U.S. new-vehicle sales in 2021 to 7% in 2022 – a 40% increase year over year.
State-level EV sales insights
According to Urban Science, six states accounted for more than 10% of all EV sales in 2022, and two of these states – Texas and New Jersey – experienced EV sales growth of more than 60% year over year.
Top five states by 2022 EV sales volume
- California – 41% growth year over year
- Florida – 51% growth year over year
- Texas – 64% growth year over year
- New York – 17% growth year over year
- New Jersey – 60% growth year over year
“Despite the overall decrease in sales in the U.S. in 2022, there are reasons for optimism as non-retail and EV sales continue to climb,” said Mitch Phillips, director, global data and analytics, Urban Science. “It’s clear the EV future is here, and we’re seeing exponential sales growth – and growth potential – in EV adoption in locations that have not been considered hotbeds in the past. Leading automotive manufacturers continue to inform their high-stakes EV network and infrastructure planning decisions with near-real time industry sales data and an EV forecasting approach rooted in science, not speculation, to ensure they’re prepared to meet rapidly changing consumer preferences and behavior now and in the future.”
Additional EV considerations
Urban Science’s recently released Dealership Transformation Index shares research and insights related to the EV future, plus considerations to help OEMs and dealers meet growing demand while they still can.
*EVs are defined as plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles within the Urban Science FAR
About Urban Science
Urban Science is a leading automotive consultancy and technology firm that serves automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and dealers, and the advertising technology companies that support them, around the world. Headquartered in Detroit and operating in 21 office locations globally, Urban Science taps the power of its science – and its unrivaled data, solution offerings and industry expertise – to create clarity and business certainty for clients in even the most chaotic market conditions. Visit UrbanScience.com for more information about how Urban Science helps automotive manufacturers and dealers gain competitive edges by taking the guesswork out of critical business decisions, and in turn drives improved efficiency and profitability industrywide.
About the Urban Science Automotive Franchise Activity Report
Urban Science maintains a list of current new vehicle dealership and franchise information for all car and light truck brands in the United States. Compiled on a monthly basis, the census is the most reliable source of dealership statistics. The data comes from a variety of sources, including feeds from automotive manufacturers as well as phone and field verification. Urban Science has been collecting this information since 1990 and compiles an annual analysis for the previous year in its Automotive Franchise Activity Report.