The U.S. auto dealers who were able to get past the economic crisis in 2008 and 2009 are now experiencing a welcome change in fortunes. One of the lucky ones is Spring Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram in Houston. The dealership’s general manager, Al Heggs, said that those were truly difficult times wherein sales fell from 300 units to fewer than 135 new cars and trucks.
Spring Chrysler is now earning well but so are the other survivors. Industrywide per-store dealership profit has nearly tripled from 2008. The automakers are reaping record-breaking sales and the highest profits. Since 2008, the number of U.S. dealers has fallen.
This is the result of the reorganizations of Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.’s restructuring out of bankruptcy. These are now translating to record sales and the highest profit in nearly five years. This permitted dealers to spend more on store renovations and to raise spending on local advertising. He said that the “business” is now in good shape just like has been for the past decades.
John Casesa, senior managing director at Guggenheim Securities LLC, said that the employment at vehicle and parts dealers has been increasing for the last 19 consecutive months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington. As of February, the industry employed about 1.72 million, from 1.61 million in February 2010. Brian Hamilton, principal of Chevrolet-Buick-Cadillac and Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep stores in Kearney, Neb., said that she hired at least 10 new employees recently.