Franchised auto dealers continued to view their markets favorably during the third quarter but without any major net improvement from the second quarter, according to the latest Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index poll.
Retailers surveyed in the third quarter saw new-vehicle inventory improve and profits remain high, but interest rates and the economy remained concerns. Cox also noted a softening in franchised dealers' expectations for electric vehicles.
The Cox poll ran from July 24 to Aug. 8 and drew responses from 554 franchised dealership representatives and 429 independents.
"Dealer competition has resulted in more competitive pricing, and new-vehicle levels are stabilizing," a Jeep dealer in the Northwest told Cox. "Many customers have been holding off on a purchase and will be enticed with more favorable pricing and stronger rebates."
Franchised dealers rated their third-quarter market a 57, up a point from the second quarter and stronger than nearly every quarter of polling before the COVID-19 pandemic began significantly disrupting the industry in the second quarter of 2020. However, the score was down from the 62 Cox recorded during the third quarter of 2022.
Scores greater than 50 indicate dealers view conditions as positive or improving.