The National Automobile Dealers Association will release results of its study of manufacturer facility programs on Saturday, Feb. 4, at the association's convention in Las Vegas.
The NADA-funded study aims to reveal whether investments in the manufacturer-driven facility image programs provide an adequate payback for dealers. Former McKinsey & Co. partner Glenn Mercer is conducting the study.
Mercer has spoken with scores of dealers, dealer lawyers and accountants, plus 12 automakers thus far, "almost all the major volume brands," NADA spokesman David Hyatt said. Mercer also is meeting with hotel chains and restaurants so that comparisons can be drawn with other industries.
NADA Chairman Stephen Wade, a multibrand dealer in Utah, says the manufacturers have been open with Mercer. The study also aims to detail what drives manufacturer demands for store renovations.
Wade said he doesn't have an idea of what the study results will show because the research has been kept at arm's length from NADA leaders thus far.
"The whole idea here is to get some sense around this," said Wade, who calls the facility issue the No. 1 concern of dealers right now. "I've said repeatedly one size doesn't fit all. What may be wise in New York might not be wise in Alaska."
That said, manufacturers are entitled to facility standards, Wade said.
"No one should be selling new automobiles out of the back of a service station," he said. "But they have to be standards that equate to a return on investment."