For the first time, Honda dealers sold more than 1,000 cars and light trucks per outlet. Honda's average of 1,020 vehicles in 2000 was an increase of 58 units over 1999.
While still behind Toyota and its luxury sibling, Lexus, Honda became only the fifth brand to reach 1,000 in the 46 years that Automotive News has been compiling the figures. The others are Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai and Saturn.
Toyota dealers sold 1,179 vehicles per outlet - 100 more than in 1999. Toyota has led the sales-per-dealer list since 1996. Lexus was second with an average of 1,170 units per outlet in 2000 compared to 1,027 in 1999.
Sales per dealership measure the relative value of a franchise by showing the relationship between sales and the number of dealerships making those sales. They also signal whether a franchise has too many or not enough dealers.
The averages do not indicate actual sales. For instance, third-place Honda sold 1.02 million vehicles in 2000 compared to almost 3.5 million for fourth-place Ford Division.
For the entire industry, sales per dealership averaged 799 vehicles in 2000, up 3.9 percent from 769 in 1999.
Though third in overall sales per outlet, Honda was first in cars with 752 per store, up 12 from 1999.
Lexus gains in trucks
Lexus posted the largest single gain of any franchise, with most of the increase coming from truck sales. Its dealers delivered 143 more vehicles per outlet in 2000 than in 1999. Lexus dealers sold 594 trucks per store, an increase of 101.
The second largest gainer was Hyundai, whose dealers sold 479 units per outlet, up 138.
Ford Division dealers, in fourth place, sold an average of 873 cars and trucks per outlet, up 27 over 1999. Holding on to fifth place was Mercedes-Benz. Its dealers delivered 663 cars and trucks per outlet, up 58 over
the previous year.
Nissan was in sixth place with its dealers delivering 629 new vehicles, followed by Saturn with 625. Chevrolet dealers sold 612 cars and trucks per outlet in 2000, just six more than the in 1999.
Chevrolet continued to trail Ford Division. Ford averaged 261 units per dealership more than its arch-rival.
Of the 37 makes of cars and light trucks surveyed, 26 increased their sales-per-outlet averages in 2000, and 10 declined. Saab was the only brand that stayed the same.
U.S. brands slide
Eight of the 10 brands that declined were domestic.
Among Chrysler group's brands: Plymouth, which will die at the end of the 2001 model year, was down 60; Jeep was down 25; and Dodge was down 15. The Chrysler brand was up 55, aided by the annexation of the former Plymouth Voyager minivan.
Among GM brands: Pontiac was down one; GMC was down six; Buick was down 15; and Oldsmobile, also under a death sentence, was down 21. Cadillac was up seven.
Mercury was down 26 and Lincoln was up 12.
The top 10 makes in car and light-truck sales per outlet last year were the same as in 1999, although some changed positions. Chevrolet slipped from fifth place in 1999 to eighth place in 2000; Saturn moved up a notch from eighth place to seventh place. Mitsubishi placed ninth and VW placed tenth in 2000; they swapped places from the previous year.
In 2000, Lexus joined yet another special category: For the first time, it sold more light trucks than cars. Also, it sold only four fewer trucks per outlet than first-place truck seller Ford Division.
Ford Division sold 598 trucks per outlet; Lexus moved 594.
Other brands that sold more pickups, vans and sport-utilities than cars were Chevrolet, 403; Dodge, 370; and Suzuki, 109.
All the truck-only brands showed sales-per-outlet declines. GMC sold 226, down six; Jeep sold 176, down 25; Isuzu sold 181, down nine; and Land Rover sold 221, down 26.