The latest NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey shows relationships have improved between manufacturers and franchised retailers. Over the last 6 months there’s been a 0.4 point rise to 5.7 for the overall relationship. This marks the first significant uptick since scores started falling five years ago to hit January’s score of 5.3 – the lowest figure on record for the Dealer Attitude Survey.

In the key question ‘How do you rate your manufacturer overall?’ Kia maintained its lead with a score of 9.1 out of 10, which it first gained a year ago.  Toyota and Lexus are ranked second and third respectively. Mercedes, equal first six months ago, suffered the largest fall of any brand losing 2.4 points to score 6.5. This is reportedly down to the level of volume push from the manufacturer, something supported by the NFDA survey.

Audi and Suzuki were the next biggest fallers with drops of 1.6 and 1.3 points respectively.

The most improved brands were Abarth (up 2.2 points), Mitsubishi (up 1.9) and Renault (up 1.8).

The bottom three places in the chart remain the same with Alfa Romeo last, then Jeep and Citroen. However, all three saw improvements to their scores in this Dealer Attitude Survey.

Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: “Overall dealers feel slightly more positive in this survey as sentiment has improved with regards to investment levels, targets and communication. Profitability and expected future profits have also both improved as dealers adapt their business models to the changing retail environment and strong used car market.

“There is a feeling that manufacturers are starting to listen more to dealers as the industry faces challenges like the WLTP transition. Dealers feel that manufactures are listening to their concerns regarding targets and in their general day to day interactions.”