Europe's dealer network has contracted less than the car market since the onset of the last economic crisis, a report says.
New-car registrations in the region are 20 percent below the pre-recession peak of 14.8 million, but the number of company-owned and independent dealerships has fallen by 12 percent to 47,500 in western Europe since 2007, according to a Bernstein Research report.
Volkswagen Group, Renault and BMW were among the few European automakers that significantly downsized their retail networks during the downturn while Fiat and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen did less to reduce dealership numbers, according to the report.
The loss of about 6,000 European dealerships since 2007 has reduced the average number of cars sold per dealership to 250 a year from 280 between 2005 and 2007, the report says. The breakeven point for a dealership is 150 car sales a year, according to UK-based auto retail analysts ICDP.