Good news is finally here. The U.S. auto industry seems to be on the rebound, with car sales in April rising by 8.5 %, compared to a year ago. Blame it on the warmer weather if you must. But industry research firms such as LMC Automotive and JD Power predict that total sales will reach 1.4 million vehicles this April. If that number becomes reality, these will be the highest April sales since 2005.
On the whole, the U.S. economy is expected to pick up significantly this year. The main driving forces are rising employment, increased home values and a pick up in residential housing construction. All of these factors contribute to the growth of the auto industry, because if potential buyers feel more comfortable financially, they’re more prone to shop for a new or used car.
What’s more, after years in a recession marked by tight credit, now consumers have much better access to auto financing. Interest rates are still quite attractive, while credit restrictions have eased. People with low credit scores are also able to finance their desired car purchase. If auto dealerships begin to thrive again, they’ll spark a positive trend that will affect local communities, too.
This logic is valid for most states, especially Florida. It’s not an overstatement to say that Florida auto dealers are the community backbone. They contribute to the state’s economy, they secure employment for a great number of people, and most importantly, Florida auto dealers always give back to the community by supporting various causes. Besides, most dealerships are family-owned businesses that have been cornerstones of their local communities for generations.
Let’s take a closer look at some statistics — the numbers say it all. The following data comes from the 2013 state-of-the-industry report, published yearly by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The latest available report sums up the industry’s development in 2012.
#1 Florida Auto Dealers Contribute to the State’s Economy
It’s not a secret that the auto industry is a multi-billion retail industry. The estimated number of new-car and truck dealerships in Florida was 853 in 2012. The total sales of all new-vehicle dealerships in Florida amounted to $47 billion, which makes up almost 17% of the total retail sales in the state. Florida auto dealers generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the state and local government through sales tax revenue, payroll tax revenue and corporate tax revenue.
#2 Florida Auto Dealers Are Great Employers
According to NADA, new-car and truck dealerships in Florida employed a total of 63,576 people in 2012. One dealership maintained an average of 75 employees. Again, that same year, the annual payroll of new-car and truck dealerships in Florida was $3.40 million. The average yearly salary of a dealership employee was $53,556.
As a comparison, the total payroll for all U.S. new-car dealerships was $51.6 billion, which was reported as 12.6% higher than in 2011. At the same time, the annual average payroll nationwide was $2.9 million, which was up 12% from 2011. Employees at U.S. new-car dealerships earned an average weekly paycheck of $1,030 in 2012, which was up 9.1% from the previous year.
#3 Florida Auto Dealers Give Back to the Community
Many of Florida’s auto dealerships are family-owned businesses that try to stay active within the local community and support various causes. For example, take the Rick Case Automotive Group. It is a family-owned business that was founded in 1962 and has since branched out with 16 dealerships in three states – Ohio, Georgia and Florida. It has locations in Davie and Fort Lauderdale.
The philosophy of its founder, Rick Case, revolves around the conviction that what’s worth more than any dollar amount is the second chance given to a child or someone in need to have a better life. The company is engaged in raising money for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. This charity aims at inspiring children from poor neighborhoods in South Florida, where crime and drugs reign, to make better choices and realize their full potential through education. Rick Case donates bikes to children in need, as well as tons of school supplies.
Many other Florida auto dealerships also give back to the community by supporting local charitable organizations and hospitals. Fort Lauderdale’s Lipton Toyota, for instance, has endorsed the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the YMCA Broward County, the American Red Cross and the American Cancer Society, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Foundation, and more. Lipton Toyota even offers local community college scholarships to students interested in trying their hands at the car sale business.
Florida Auto Dealers are the backbone of the local community, because their value is measured not only by their contribution to the state’s economy, but also by how they give back to the people they service.
By definition, dealerships are deemed to be successful businesses, as the numbers stated above reveal. Even more so now, when auto sales are picking up all around the country.
If you are not yet involved in the auto industry, but are tempted to start your own business, now’s the time to go for it. There are a few requirements regarding licensing and bonding to be kept in mind, but after you’ve satisfied those, nothing can stop you from opening your own car dealership and making it a successful and profitable local business.
Just don’t forget to give back to your community, because locals will count on your support. Share your success with others!
If you already have your own Florida dealership, tell us — where is your business located and how do you support your local community? Share your experience in the comment section below!