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Dealers Amp Up Local Economies

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New York dealer trade association’s economic-impact report drives home a point.

Greater New York City auto dealers want something known: They are a big part of the Big Apple’s economy.

Dealers across the rolling Republic can say the same thing about their hometown influences. Whether they are doing business in big cities, suburbs or rural towns, dealers contribute much to the financial well-being of respective communities.

New York auto retailers want to make their case in no uncertain terms.

So rather than vaguely say, “We employ people and pay taxes,” the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Assn. commissioned an economic-impact report on just how much franchised dealers did for the local economy in 2012.

“We’ve got some really strong numbers,” says Nick Crispe, a spokesman for the association that has nearly 400 members.

Here are report highlights:

  • Total vehicle-sales revenue: $27.1 billion, up 12.4%.
  • Jobs generated: 32,370 directly, 25,250 indirectly. The total is up 3.1%.
  • Employee compensation directly and indirectly attributable to local franchised dealers: $2.9 billion, up 20.3%.
  • Average dealership employment: 83 people, about 75% of them in good-paying sales and service jobs. Including fringe benefits, the average store’s payroll exceeded $5.1 million. 
  • Taxes (state, payroll and real estate): $1.83 billion, up 7%.

Although some people may think ubiquitous yellow taxis are the transportation mode of choice in New York, the metropolis actually ranks as one of the nation’s best vehicle markets. Greater New York dealers sold 429,000 cars last year.

No dealership list of contributions is complete without including charitable support. In New York, it tallies $17.2 million.

There’s much to boast about, but the trade group commissioned the economic report to establish more than just bragging rights.      

“We use the data to remind local legislators and consumers how important individual dealers are to the local communities,” Crispe says. “A lot of people have a knee-jerk reaction to dealers, but when you really see what they provide on a local level, I think most people would rather have them than not.”

He adds: “The idea of an Apple-store approach to retailing cars might seem cool, but the reality of all the revenues going straight to a large out-of-state or even out-of-country corporation isn’t quite so good in practice.” 

The association built and runs the Center for Automotive Education and Training in Queens. It trains students for dealership work, primarily in the art and science of fixing cars.

I was among the speakers at the center’s fifth-anniversary celebration a couple of years ago. Some of the most stirring speeches came from past and present auto-technician students, Guillermo Larregui among them.

He had served as a policeman for 20 years. His love of cars spurred him to change careers, swapping his service revolver for a service-department wrench at a BMW dealership.

It was a good move for him. “I got my dream job,” he said. And a local dealership got another trained technician who, in turn, is paid well and pays taxes. It works out nicely for everyone.

The New York dealers association would like people to know that.

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Blogs about automotive retailing, commenting on news impacting the business of selling vehicles.

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Steve Finlay

Steve Finlay is the editor of WardsAuto Dealer Business magazine and a senior editor for WardsAuto.com. His journalism career started 42 years ago as a crime reporter. A Michigan native, he likes...

Jim Ziegler

Jim Ziegler, president of Ziegler Supersystems, is a trainer, commentator and public speaker on dealership issues.
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