UK-based organisation, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), has just released the findings of its latest Dealer Attitude Survey, conducted in July 2015.

NFDA’s role is similar to AADA’s. It represents franchised car and commercial vehicle Dealers, lobbying for their legal rights, advising on different aspects of the Dealers’ business, and working to maintain a harmonious relationship with manufacturers.

Twice a year NFDA conducts a survey that examines how Dealers view the major issues currently affecting them, while also evaluating how these views are changing over time. It also offers franchised Dealers and their respective manufacturers a clear idea of the balance of opinion held on a range of views within their networks.

Dealers were asked to respond to questions covering significant aspects of their business relationship with their manufacturer.
From these responses scores were produced on a simple ten point scale, running from 1 – extremely dissatisfied to 10 – extremely satisfied.

This year’s survey generated 1573 responses from a total participating Dealer network of 4270, which equates to 37% response rate.
This is a significant response rate which gives a good representative picture of the Dealer/manufacturer relationship in the UK. The number of responses was marginally higher than in the winter, where they received 1554 completed surveys.

There were 28 franchise networks in the survey, which represents a wide range of Dealers from across the UK.

The survey shows a decline in Dealer satisfaction with their manufacturers on the all-important question about the overall value of the franchise.

  • The score is down 0.3 points since the winter 2015 survey and down 0.4 points since last summer.
  • Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Kia were recorded as the top four franchises.
  • The least valued franchises by respondents were Skoda, Alfa Romeo, Volkswagen and Jaguar.
    Dealers returned an average score of 4.7 when asked how satisfied they were with their new car targeting process.
    This score indicated that in general Dealers were dissatisfied with the targeting process with their manufacturers.
  • Only three franchises returned a score of 8.0 and above, indicating a significant level of satisfaction with these brands. Mercedes was the top-scoring franchise with a score of 8.6, while both Land Rover and Lexus achieved scores of 8.0.
  • With a score of 2.7, both Volkswagen and Skoda had the lowest scores for this question.

Profit and profitability ratings also saw a decline. The results suggest that Dealers are less optimistic about future profit returns than they were previously.

When rating the profit return by representing their franchise, an average score of 5.6 was recorded. This score is down 0.4 point since the winter survey, and 0.5 points lower than last summer.

When asked about the future profitability of their business, the all-Dealer average declined from 6.3 to 6.0.

When Dealers were asked ‘how satisfied are you that your manufacturer Dealer standards are fair and reasonable?’, the average score for the summer 2015 survey was 6.4.

  • This score was down 0.1 points from the winter survey and 0.3 points since last summer. The score would suggest that overall, Dealers are fairly neutral about their manufacturer standards.

Once again Mercedes received the highest score at 8.9, and BMW has seen the most improvement in score for this question, scoring 8.6 – up 1.3 from the winter.

Volkswagen had the greatest decline in score, down 1.6 from the winter survey to 5.2.

Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association, noted a decline in Dealers’ satisfaction, saying “The relationship between car Dealers and car manufacturers recorded an average score of 6.2 – 0.3 points lower than the winter 2015 survey, suggesting that a number of Dealer networks are slightly less satisfied with their relationship with their manufacturer.”

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