There are plenty of services to help you buy a car and lots of places to go to find out what your used car is worth. It seems that every week, someone comes up with a new way to rate cars and trucks. And there are also ways to evaluate dealerships, with the results changing constantly.
Brands are rated twice a year in the National Automobile Dealers Association Dealer Attitude Survey. But it may be time to give the factory a monthly review.
I am always amazed at how frequently dealer and factory relationships can change, particularly as management comes and goes.
Can one person alter the personality of a franchise? Absolutely. It happens all the time — sometimes because a new executive interfaces better with dealers, but often because of a change in management philosophy. Whatever the reason, relationships can change overnight, either for the good or the bad.
Perhaps we could get Dave Power to come out of retirement and do a study every month showing how dealers rate their franchises. It might be a great value to car companies if they understood how they were doing with their most important customers.
In a perfect world, it is a partnership. But all too often, those partnerships can become confused, and it is simply impossible for a single dealership to have an impact on the home office.
It also might be valuable for a factory to understand what its dealers feel about the new technology they'll be asked to sell someday, such as electric vehicles or autonomous vehicles.
A monthly study would give the factory the feedback necessary to do a great job for the dealer and, in turn, their mutual customers.
It probably could never happen, but it is worth considering. If the factory is doing well, I am sure it would want to know. Of course, sometimes the truth hurts.
You may email Keith Crain at [email protected]