California dealerships dominate the latest Ward's Dealer Business annual ranking of America's top vehicle dealerships. Total revenue figures in the survey reached $US62.4 billion in 2001, up from $60.5 billion in 2000.

The findings from the 2001 rankings indicate that, after four years of impressive growth by the nation's leading dealers in which total revenue grew at an average of $10 million a year per dealership, the major players in the industry are currently experiencing the impact of last year's poor economic conditions.

However, despite this slowdown in growth, total revenue per dealership for the Ward's Dealer Business 500 list reached $124.8 million in 2001, a figure well above the national average of $31.6 million registered by the nation's 21,600 new car dealerships.

The survey ranked America's leading dealers according to their total revenue figures in 2001.

The top ten dealers are:

1. Longo Toyota, El Monte, Califorinia (2001 revenue: $536,789,000)
2. Ricart, Columbus, Ohio ($425,839,021)
3. Galpin Ford, North Hills, California ($404,885,368)
4. Fletcher Jones Motorcars, Newport Beach, California ($403,170,681
5. JM Lexus, Margate, Florida ($305,521,973)
6. Prestige Ford, Garland, Texas ($303,203,116)
7. Bill Heard-Landmark Chevrolet, Houston, Texas ($303,079,000)
8. House of Imports Inc., Buena Park, California ($275,591,466)
9. Earnhardt Ford Sales Co., Tempe, Arizona ($271,754,967)
10. Smythe European, San Jose, California ($268,333,431)

In addition to a significant slowdown in total revenue growth in 2001, this year's Ward's Dealer Business 500 ranking also highlighted the following noteworthy findings:

Longo Toyota becomes the first dealership to break the $500 million mark;

Forty dealerships exceeded $200 million in total revenue;

A record number 301 dealerships exceeded $100 million in total revenue;

Ford continues to lead in the number of dealerships - but that lead is dwindling, with 122 outlets compared to 138 last year;

Chevrolet increased its number of dealerships on the list from 85 to 96. Toyota also increased its total to 75 - up from 65 in 2000;

AutoNation Inc. placed 93 stores on the list - down from 96 in 2000.