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The overall relationship between franchised car dealers and manufacturers recorded an average score of 5.3 out of 10 in the Winter 2017/2018 Dealer Attitude Survey, as the results revealed on Monday 5 March showed. The average score is -0.3 points lower than six months ago and indicates that the relationship has further deteriorated.

The NFDA carries out the Dealer Attitude Survey on a biannual basis. The results display the general health of the dealer/manufacturer relationship, indicate potential difficulties and highlight where there are strong and constructive working environments. The NFDA surveyed 29 franchised networks and received 1,893 responses from dealers, equating to a 47% response rate, the highest since the inception of the survey in 1989.

Manufacturer rating

The all-important question asking dealers ‘how would they rate their manufacturers overall’, saw a decline of -0.3 points compared with the previous survey. 18 networks saw their score decrease, nine improved and two remained unchanged.

Kia, Mercedes and Toyota were the highest scoring franchises with 8.9 points each. Lexus and Suzuki closed out the top five with 8.6 and 7.9 points respectively. The least valued networks were Jeep with 2.4 points, Fiat with 2.0 and Alfa Romeo with 1.4.

Overall average score

With an overall average of 8.6 points, Kia had again the highest average score across all questions of the survey. This represented a marginal improvement of 0.1 points from six months ago. Toyota (8.4), Lexus (8.4) and Mercedes (8.3) followed.

Movement in score

Following a disappointing performance in the summer survey, Nissan was the most improved franchise network with an overall increase of 60.7 points across all the questions of the survey. Toyota also saw an impressive upward movement, with 54.0 points gained across the survey. At the other end of the table, Abarth, with an overall loss of -98.6 points saw the biggest decline.

The record response rate of the latest Dealer Attitude Survey shows that the survey represents an increasingly important tool for dealers to monitor the health of the relationship with their manufacturers and highlight any potential business-related issues.

The results show that current uncertainty in the market as well as in the economic and political landscape has affected the dealer/manufacturer relationship.

Going forward, it is imperative that dealers and manufacturers cooperate constructively to ensure that the automotive industry continues to thrive.

Posted by Sue Robinson on 09/03/2018