Manufacturers moving to agency agreements have been scored down by retailers compared to those sticking with the franchised retail model. Worry about future profitability is said to be the cause. The data is according to the latest NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey.

The average score for ‘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 however, 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.

Mercedes performs well

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.
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. This is a jump up from fourth place six months ago.

Top score for Lexus

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 bottom five places 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.

Satisfaction high 

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.”