Kia is the best and Stellantis the worst brands to be selling, say car dealers.
The NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey was conducted last month and asked franchised dealers questions about the on-going business relationship with their respective manufacturers.
It brought 2,531 responses from 32 franchised networks, equating to a joint record response rate of 68%. The 2023 Summer Survey showed a general downward trend across most questions with 47 out of 55 questions showing a decline versus the winter edition.
Dealer satisfaction levels for profit returns has fallen on average from six months prior, from 6.7 in Winter 2022 edition, to 6.2 in the current Summer 2023 edition equating to a -7.5% change.
The highest returning scores came from Kia (9.1), BMW (8.3) and MINI (8.2). The lowest returning scores from Vauxhall (2.4), Citroen (2.2) and DS (1.2).
The survey revealed that franchised dealer sentiment around EVs is being weighed down by the high levels of investment required for the transition, in comparison to the lack of manufacturer support.
In particular, dealers have raised concerns with their manufacturer’s support for on-site EV charging infrastructure, returning an average of 4.9 out of 10, the lowest returning score for the entire survey.
The highest returning scores from the survey revolve around used car sa sfaction. Dealers were most satisfied with their respective manufacturers’ used car standards, returning the highest average score of 7.1 out of 10. This was followed by total margins made from used cars, returning an average of 7 out of 10. Lexus (9), Kia (8.9) and Suzuki (8.4) were the front runners, followed by Citroen (4.4), Jeep (4.4) and DS (3.9).
Although returning a particularly low score, it is positive to see that new car supply is steadily improving in the UK. When asked how satisfied dealers were with their manufacturer’s new vehicle supply, the Summer 2023 returned an average of 5.5 out of 10, 0.5 points higher than Winter 2022 edition which equates to a 10% change. Lexus (7.7), Nissan (7.6) and Kia (7.5) were best and DS (3), Ford (2.8) and Jaguar (2.6) worst.
Manufacturer’s approaches to future retailing agreements and contracts has fallen on average by – 0.3, from 6.3 in the Winter 2022 to 6 in the Summer 2023. Lexus has returned the highest score of 9.2, followed by Kia (9.1) and Suzuki (8.6). The lowest returning scores came from Vauxhall (2.6), Citroen (2.4) and DS (1.0).
The all-important question ‘how would you rate your manufacturer overall on a scale of 1 to 10?’ returned an average of 6.3, a 0.2 fall since Winter 2022.
Kia (9.5), Lexus (9.2), and MINI (9.0) were the top performers whilst Vauxhall (2.4), Jeep (2.3), and DS (1.5) received the lowest ratings. Audi improved the most with a 26% increase from the previous survey.
Following Kia’s success as the manufacturer with the highest returning score for the Summer 2023 Dealer A tude Survey, Paul Philpott, President and CEO of Kia UK Limited, said, “We are truly delighted to again be named the overall winner in the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey.
“This Survey offers us a fantastic insight into our dealer partnership, which forms the backbone of our business. This year has been full of unique challenges, which I’m proud to say we have been able to work together to overcome.
“Alongside our customers, our dealer partners are at the forefront of Kia and together we work hard to make it the brand it is today: a leader in electrification; the fourth best-selling brand in the UK and on the way to launching seven EVs in the UK by 2027.
“Whilst this is a time of celebration for us and our partners, there is no time to rest on our laurels. We will continue to navigate new and evolving challenges, deliver on the needs of our customers and the transition to electric vehicles. We are proud of our strong network partnership and are well placed to build on our excellent foundations, adapt to change and deliver world class mobility solutions.”
Sue Robinson concluded, “It is extremely positive to see the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey has once again returned the record response rate, demonstrating the automotive industry’s unwavering commitment to sharing its valuable insights and attitudes that are shaping the retailing sector.
“It is particularly disappointing to see Stellantis brands again receiving the lowest scores across the board, a clear indication of a challenged business relationship and highlights a pressing need for improved collaboration and support to better align with dealer expectations and foster a mutually beneficial business operation.”