“Despite growing discussions and developments between franchised dealers and OEMs, around the future of the automotive retailing landscape, the latest Dealer Attitude Survey reveals a positive outlook and that, on average, relationships have improved over the last six months”, said Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle dealers in the UK, commenting on the results of the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey Winter 2022/2023 published today, Monday 20 March 2023.

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, has conducted the Dealer Attitude Survey twice a year since 1989.

For this edition of the survey, in January and February 2023, franchised dealers were asked a series of questions covering business issues affecting the relationship with their respective manufacturers. Responses were scored from 1 (extremely dissatisfied) to 10 (extremely satisfied).

The survey returned a record response rate 70% with a total of 2,647 responses, the highest response rate in 76 editions, from 32 participating manufacturer networks.

Profit Return

Dealers, on a whole, are more satisfied with their profit return from representing their manufacturer than 6 months ago, returning an average of 6.7 out of 10, an increase of 0.3. Kia and BMW led the highest scores returning 9 points each out of 10, followed by Mercedes with 8.7. The highest returning average across the entire survey, the same as six months ago, was dealers’ satisfaction from margins on used cars; Returning 7.4 out of 10, highlighting the strength of the used car market and dealers’ ability to capitalise on this.

Electric Vehicles

Electric vehicle questions returned positive responses in comparison to six months ago. Satisfaction levels on average for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) on offer rose by 0.4, from 5.8 to 6.2. Kia dealers were the most satisfied at 9.3 out of ten. Similarly, satisfaction levels on average for Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) rose by 0.3, from 6.0 to 6.3. The joint highest dealers were Lexus and Kia (9.1).

Overall Winners

The all-important question ‘how would you rate your manufacturer overall on a scale of 1 to 10?’ returned an average of 6.5, on par with six months ago. Kia (9.3), Lexus (9.2), and Mini (8.8) were the top performers whilst Vauxhall (3.7), Jaguar (3.7), and Citroen (2.7) received the lowest ratings.

An analysis of the ‘overall average score’ across all questions of the survey improved by 0.1 from six months ago, from 6.4 to 6.5. Lexus remains at the top with 8.8 points out of 10, followed by Kia (8.7) and Mercedes (8.4). The bottom of the table saw Abarth (4.5), Jeep (4.3), and Citroen (3.6).

Total movement across all questions revealed the most improved dealer and manufacturer relationships, as well as relationships that have digressed. Across the entire survey of 53 questions, Hyundai’s score rose by a total of 106.6 points, the most improved relationship in the UK network. Followed by Subaru (84) and Fiat (44.6). Dealer and manufacturer relationships that have gone backward consist of Citroen (-62.2), Cupra (-71), and Peugeot (-76.9). On average, ratings increased by 6 points from six months ago.

Sue Robinson added: “The Dealer Attitude Survey has always been a primary benchmark report for the industry, offering a key indication of the health of business relationships between franchised dealers and their respective manufacturers. It is therefore extremely encouraging to see a record response rate of 70%, highlighting the importance that the UK dealer network still places on the survey, particularly entering times of turbulence and uncertainty.

“Franchised dealers are particularly pleased in areas such as used car margins, manufacturer training and with the range of electric vehicles on offer, in a bid to diversify and improve their alternative fuel product in line with the electrification of the automotive sector.

“The DAS remains a crucial barometer for the UK automotive industry. Manufacturers and dealers must work in a mutually beneficial way that adheres to consumers' needs and explores how they can improve business areas which have received below average scores.”

Download the Dealer Attitude Survey summary report: HERE