Dealers, always an optimistic group, are supremely optimistic heading into the spring selling season. Federal tax changes appear to be the main reason.
Those are some of the conclusions from the latest quarterly Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index, released today, March 19.
The results from a first-quarter survey of dealers "blew me away," said Jonathan Smoke, Cox Automotive's chief economist and architect of the survey.
"I'm almost a little bit worried, actually, at that level of optimism," he said. "It's borderline euphoric."
The survey is the equivalent of a consumer confidence index, showing how U.S. dealers feel about the current retail market and prospects for the next 90 days. It identifies which factors are most significant in driving dealers' optimism or pessimism, as well as variations by region.
Cox surveyed 896 franchise and independent dealers Jan. 29 to Feb. 12. Dealer responses were weighted by dealership type and volume of sales to be representative of the national dealer population. The responses are used to calculate what's known as a diffusion index, where any number over 50 indicates that dealers view conditions as strong.