NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey highlights agency fears

  12 September 2022

Manufacturers moving to agency agreements have been scored down by retailers compared to those sticking with the franchised retail model as they worry about future profitability, according to the latest NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey.

While the average score for the all-important question ‘How do you rate your manufacturer overall?’ has been a consistent 6.5 out of 10 for the three most recent surveys, when retailers have been asked about what they think of the future retail direction of their brand scores have been dropping. A year ago, this scored 6.7, six months ago it was 6.6 and it’s now at 6.3.

For those brands that have announced they are moving to agency, the average is now 5.9 while for those that are sticking with franchised agreements the score is 6.7.

However, the survey also reveals that some brands are handling the switch far better than others. Mercedes, which is expected to move to agency agreements from the start of next year, not only performs well in for the future retail direction question, but is also second in the main manufacturer rating question, up from fourth place six months ago.

The top three brands for this question are Lexus with a score of 9.4, followed by equal second place Kia and Mercedes with score of 9.0. BMW takes fourth place in the current survey, with Toyota in fifth.

Stellantis brands occupy the bottoms five place in the survey, with Fiat scoring 3.4, Abarth 3.9, Alfa Romeo 4.1, Jeep 4.3 and Citroen 4.3. All five scored worse than the previous survey and Abarth, Fiat and Jeep were also the three biggest fallers.

Renault, Hyundai and Dacia were the three biggest risers with scores increasing 1.3, 1.2 and 1.1, respectively.

Commenting on the latest Dealer Attitude Survey, Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the NFDA, said: “Despite the unprecedented challenges facing the automotive retail industry, it is optimistic to see our survey has revealed only marginal differences in overall manufacturer rating. Franchised dealers show high levels of satisfaction in key business areas, particularly in used car margins and performance measures.”

NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey chart


You can read a full, in-depth analysis of the latest NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey results in the September issue of Auto Retail Bulletin out on Tuesday, 13 September. Sign up for a free trial here.

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