Who’s on the WardsAuto Megadealer 100, Who Isn’t

The WardsAuto 2017 Megadealer 100 seems remarkably similar to 2016’s list of major dealership groups.

Yes, there was the occasional jostling of positions across the rankings, but it was minimal in the top 25, and even less so within the top 10.

The main observation of this year’s ranking is also a kind of trick question: What’s missing? 

Here’s the point. If you look to the list as a strict barometer of the industry’s health, you would believe there is a decline. The combined WardsAuto  Megadealer 100 revenues were $192 billion in 2014, up to $206 billion in 2015.

But in reviewing 2016, revenues declined to $194 billion. In reality, however, the industry is just fine. The main reason for the decline is that CarMax, (with its approximately $16 billion in revenue) chose not to report this go-around. The used-car megadealer had been a regular participant in past years.

Also missing in action is Berkshire Automotive, which was formed after Berkshire Hathaway acquired the Van Tuyl dealership group that regularly had ranked in the top 10.  

Numbers submitted to WardsAuto are not independently audited. Additionally, they are voluntarily submitted, with many dealer groups unwilling to share data.

It makes year-to-year comparisons difficult. But there are consistencies.

Among 51 consistent and complete reporters (click image at left to see who they are), revenues were up 7% in 2016. While this trails 9% from the year before, it still is a healthy indicator.

One factor borne out by the numbers presented by the 51 dealers is a continued emphasis on and growth of fixed operations. 

While fixed ops traditionally are considered the true bread and butter of dealership…

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