The plunge in sales experienced by Toyota Canada Inc. last year knocked it out of first place in a key measure of dealership health - vehicle sales per dealer.
The number of sales for the average Toyota dealer slid by 145 vehicles or 18 per cent last year to 641 vehicles, knocking the company into second place in that ranking, the first time since 2003 that it has not been on top.
BMW Canada Inc. jumped into first place with 663 sales per dealer, an increase of 45 from 2009, according to data compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants Inc.
But the big moves upward were made by the Canadian units of the Detroit Three and Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc. Chrysler Canada Inc. and Ford Motor Co. of Canada Ltd. posted higher vehicle sales and gained market share in 2010, while General Motors of Canada Ltd. restructured its dealership network by closing 159 outlets.
The average number of sales for Ford and GM dealers soared by 101 vehicles last year, while Chrysler dealers sold 96 more vehicles on average than they did in 2009.
Mercedes-Benz dealers benefited from the company's 22 per cent sales increase and rise to sales leadership in the luxury segment of the vehicle market.
Most of the money at car dealerships is made from used car trade-ins, finance and insurance, warranty claims and service business, noted Dennis DesRosiers, president of the consulting firm.
"When sales per dealer are high, it sets up significant profit opportunities in the finance and insurance department and in the used vehicle department," Mr. DesRosiers said.
Across the entire industry, the average dealer sold 467 new cars and trucks last year, up 39 from the 428 sold in 2009.