Automotive News’ annual dealership census shows the number of U.S. dealerships increased 0.4% last year, though new-vehicle sales per franchise fell 8.8% because of new-vehicle inventory challenges and other factors.
The census ranks 42 brands for throughput, a measure of dealership network health. The new census is the first to include Polestar, which had 29 franchises as of Jan. 1.
The research shows Ford Motor Co. shed 35 dealerships last year—a 1% decline. The brand had 2,967 franchises as of Jan. 1. It gained 19 exclusive stores last year but shed 31 franchises. Its Lincoln brand lost 54 franchises and four exclusives to land at 637 franchises on Jan. 1.
Overall, the number of exclusive dealerships across the industry rose 1.6% to 12,151. Import-badged exclusive dealerships also grew by 2%.
Hyundai added 80 stores, Mazda 21, and Kia and Mitsubishi each more than 10. Jeep more than doubled its exclusive store count, and Cadillac’s dealer network grew by two to 564 franchises, according to Automotive News.
Throughput was a mixed bag, falling for 30 franchised brands and increasing for 11.
Toyota ranked No. 1 for throughput, with 1,494 vehicles sold per franchise. However, inventory constraints tempered its throughput by 8.8%.
Lexus captured the No. 2 spot with throughput of 1,060 vehicles. That represents a 15% decline as dealers struggled with record low inventories for most of the year.
Though BMW’s throughput declined 1.6% to 947 vehicles, it still climbed one spot to third place. The third place finisher in 2021, Honda, dropped five spots to No. 8, with throughput falling 33% to 826 vehicles. Acura throughput fell 35% to 378 vehicles.
Automotive News reported Mercedes-Benz was the only brand in the top 10 whose throughput rose. The brand jumped four spots to No. 4 as its throughput jumped 6.4% to 916 vehicles. Kia moved from the sixth spot in 2021 to the fifth spot, despite a 2.2% decline in throughput to 892 vehicles.
The research found Cadillac dealers sold 240 new vehicles per franchise, up 45% for the industry's largest percentage gain.