A good time isn't being had by all.
Even as new-vehicle sales climb toward historic levels, dealers with Volkswagen, Infiniti, Mini, Smart and Fiat franchises are concerned about the long-term value of their franchises and their relations with manufacturers.
Dealers with those brands are the most disgruntled overall, according to the most recent Dealer Attitude Survey, conducted and distributed twice a year by the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Lexus dealers expressed the most upbeat attitude in the industry, according to scores on the survey's Overall Attitude Index, followed by dealers for Toyota, Subaru, Audi and Ford.
The survey, based on responses from about 10,600 dealerships and conducted Jan. 5-Feb. 12, is not intended for public consumption. An NADA spokesman declined to discuss its contents after Automotive News obtained a copy of its summary.
In the summary, NADA said its line representatives and staff had completed 23 meetings with more than 300 executives, including senior management, from the 32 franchises represented in the rankings to convey and discuss the findings.
The overall index combines results from survey responses on:
- Value: These questions focus on past, present and future franchise values and dealers' perceptions of the brand's product quality and desirability.
- Policy: These questions ask about the automaker's consideration of dealer input, its policies to support dealer efforts in achieving customer satisfaction and whether the factory's policies and procedures are fair.
- People: These questions concern dealer sentiment toward the franchise's field staff.
Fiat Chrysler's dealers scored their brands' field personnel the worst on the survey. The four lowest-ranking brands in this area of the survey, starting from the bottom, were Fiat, Chrysler, Ram and Dodge. Jeep tied with Smart and Mini for fifth-worst.