Companies in this industry engage in retail sales of new and used passenger cars, light trucks, SUVs, and passenger and cargo vans. Major companies include AutoNation, Group 1, CarMax, Penske Automotive Group, and Sonic Automotive (all based in the US), as well as Inchcape plc (UK), Jardine Cycle & Carriage (Singapore), Porsche Piech Holding GmbH (Austria), and Tangshan Jidong Jiefang Automobile Sales (China).
Worldwide, automobile dealers sell about 95 million new vehicles per year. Leading countries for auto sales, outside the mature markets of the US, Europe, and Japan, include Brazil, Russia, India, and China (the BRIC nations). After several years of annual growth, worldwide light vehicle sales dipped slightly in 2018 amid rising trade tensions and slower demand in China and some other emerging markets.
The US automobile dealer industry includes about 46,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $1 trillion.
Consumer spending and interest rates drive demand for cars. The profitability of individual companies depends on the volume and mix of cars and services sold. Large companies can offer a wider selection of cars and have advantages in marketing, purchasing, and finance. Small companies can compete effectively by offering superior customer service or serving a local market. The US industry is highly fragmented: the top 50 companies generate less than 15% of revenue. About 45% of dealerships have fewer than five employees.
For vehicle sales, auto dealers compete with private market sellers, who are increasingly using the internet to bypass traditional retail channels. Companies compete with various retail outlets, such as oil change centers, tire stores, and independent service shops and chains, for service revenue.
The majority of vehicles imported to the US come from Mexico, Canada, Japan, Germany, and South Korea. Most imports from Canada and Mexico come from manufacturing facilities owned by US companies.
Products, Operations & Technology
Sales of new and used cars and related products and services by new car dealerships make up 90% of industry revenue; used car dealerships account for the
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms