* See the evolution of number of dealerships for 31 brands by clicking on the title! *
Thanks to French magazine L’Argus today I can share with you some unusual info: the evolution of the number of dealerships by brands in France over the past decade. There are some very interesting learnings there, especially when you superimpose the sales evolution of these brands over the same period. Overall, illustrating a long-term trend where a large part of the research into buying a new car now happens online and not in ‘real’ dealerships, 2,128 of those have disappeared in France over the last decade (from 18,278 to 16,150), a 12% loss where sales have only dropped by 5%. This means more sales per dealership, however this is only true for foreign manufacturers, with the French less productive as a whole.
No surprise on top: the top 3 brands are the 3 local manufacturers, but even if all of them see their sales at home fall painfully, their dealership count has evolved differently. Renault lost over 1,000 dealerships in the last decade to 5,021, a 18% drop exactly in line with its sales also down 18% (note Dacia models are sold in Renault dealerships). Peugeot has gained 260 dealerships to 3,637 (+8%) whereas its sales are down 18%, meaning sales per dealership down 24%… Citroen follows a more logical evolution, losing 328 showrooms (-12%) for sales down 3% which infers a better productivity per dealership (+11%).
A remainder of a much more successful past, Ford is the most represented foreign manufacturer in France with 773 dealerships, down 8% but delivering sales up 1% compared to 2003. Similarly, Fiat follows with stable sales even though it lost over half its French showrooms over the past decade to 404 (-52%). Volkswagen is an interesting story: it displays by far the best productivity per showroom at 443 vehicles sold annually, 4 times better than Peugeot! Even better: it managed to increase sales by 32% in 11% less dealerships…
Other brands follow the same trend, the most spectacular being Audi with sales 67% in nearly half the showrooms it had a decade ago (from 263 to 141), Land Rover is up 31% in 46% less dealerships and BMW sales are up 14% in 15% less showrooms. Overall foreign brands sell 11% more cars in 16% less showrooms while the French sell 15% less in 9% less. Notice also Suzuki showrooms up 37% (sales up 17%), Kia up 197% (sales up 645%), Chevrolet up 83% (sales up 452%), Skoda up 4% (sales up 79%) and Volvo up 44% (sales up 56%).
Reversely, Opel lost nearly 60% of its showrooms over the last 10 years in France, and sales have followed suit: -40%. Mitsubishi saw its sales plunge by 53% in spite of gaining 18 showrooms (+18%), Jeep in down 55% in spite of 6 additional dealerships (+7%) and Smart down 41% even though it now has 86 showrooms vs. 73 a decade ago.
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Full 2013 All-brands ranked by dealership account below.