(AP) – The number of U.S. car dealerships is rising again after big declines during the recession.
Consulting firm Urban Science says there were 17,767 dealerships at the end of 2011, or 108 more than at the end of 2010. In a typical year, the number of dealerships falls by 2 percent because of retirements and downsizing, so a rise is fairly significant.
The two largest contributors to the increase were Fiat, which added 135 dealerships, and Chrysler, which added 50.
Urban Science says the downsizing during the recession means the remaining dealerships are more profitable. U.S. dealers are on track to have a record number of sales per dealership this year. The current record is 784 in 2005.