• Number of U.S. dealerships increased by 46 rooftops since January 2021
  • Industry average dealership throughput forecasted to increase to 910, a 103-unit increase
  • California, Texas and New York saw the biggest increase in total dealerships

DETROIT, August 18, 2021— Urban Science released statistics and insights today from its 2021 Mid-Year Automotive Franchise Activity Report (FAR), indicating a small increase in dealership rooftops and an increase in sales throughput.

As of July 1, 2021, there are 46 more dealerships (rooftops) in the United States, taking the January 1, 2021, count of 18,157 up slightly to 18,203. This 0.3% increase is small and indicates continued stability overall. This is in contrast to the slight decline Urban Science saw for dealerships in 2020 and is back to the same level of 2019. The number of franchises, or brands a dealership sells, also experienced a period of stability, slightly decreasing from 31,959 to 31,932.

“Sales throughput for dealers is defined as the number of sales divided by the dealer count,” said Mitch Phillips, Urban Science’s Global Director of Data. “With the current range of 2021 sales forecasts being slightly more than 2020 and a stable dealer count, throughput is forecasted to increase around 103 units to 910 units. This is about the level we saw in 2013.”

A recent Urban Science online study supports this forecast, finding that, despite the rise in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with visiting a dealership in-person, with 64 percent reporting they believe it is “completely safe to go to a dealership today” and 42% are “comfortable visiting a dealership within the next month or sooner.” When looking at the demographics, four in 10 adults living in urban areas report they’ll buy within the next year—twice as many as those in suburban and rural areas.

Since 2010, the dealership network has set a new normal pattern of stability,” said Phillips. “The data shows that 98 percent of local markets had virtually no net change (+/- 1 dealership). That said, the most significant (net) dealership changes occurred in the following states:

State Changes
California +24 dealerships
Texas +8 dealerships
New York +5 dealerships
Illinois -2 dealerships
Kansas -2 dealerships
Tennessee -4 dealerships

An interesting observation is that California has returned to the list of most active states adding the dealerships.”

About the 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.


About the Urban Science Online Study

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Urban Science from October 27-29, 2020, among 2,025 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. Figures for age, gender, education, income, race/ethnicity, region, size of household, marital status and internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling can be calculated. For more details on the study, visit urbanscience.com/insightlab


About Urban Science
Founded in 1977, Urban Science is a global retail consulting firm that takes the scientific approach to help companies identify where they should allocate resources in order to increase their market share and profitability in the most effective and efficient manner possible. With headquarters in Detroit, Urban Science serves its global clientele from 21 offices in the United States, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and the United Kingdom. For more information on how Urban Science guides business through science, visit urbanscience.com.