Franchised dealers’ satisfaction over their manufacturers’ finance programmes has been falling over the past year, according to the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA).
In the winter edition of the NFDA’s biannual satisfaction survey, dealers attributed an average score of 6.4 out of 10 to the competitiveness of their manufacturer’s finance offer, down from 7.0 a year earlier. Toyota dealers reported the highest satisfaction at 9.3, followed by Mercedes and Kia.
Respondents assigned average marks of 6.5 when it came to how reasonable manufacturers’ finance penetration, with Toyota again taking top place.
On earning potentials from finance, dealers had lukewarm feelings, marking manufacturers 5.5 on average. Mercedes, Mini and Audi topped the tables when it came to earning satisfaction.
Asked about overall profit satisfaction, Mercedes, Toyota and Kia dealers assigned the highest marks, with Fiat, Jaguar, Jeep and Alfa Romeo instead ranking at the bottom. Noticeably, Mercedes’ main rival BMW scored only 2.6.
Dealers generally reported higher satisfaction over used vehicle margins (average marks of 6.2) than new vehicle ones (4.9). However, satisfaction over used car targets kept falling, with manufacturers scoring 6.7 compared to the previous year’s 6.2.
Across all questions, Nissan and Toyota saw the biggest improvement in scores, ranking 5.6 and 8.4 respectively. The Fiat group brands, meanwhile, including Jeep, Abarth and Alfa Romeo, all recorded steep drops, with average satisfaction scores of around 3.0.
The NFDA received responses from some 1,900 dealers, equating to a 47% response rate.
Director Sue Robinson said: “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 of the survey 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.”