"We value our strong partnership with our dealers, and are pleased to keep the first and second place ranking in the Lexus and Toyota family," David Christ, general manager of Lexus Division, said in an emailed statement to Automotive News.
In the winter and summer 2017 surveys, Lexus ranked second, behind Toyota. Before 2017, Lexus was No. 1 for several years.
NADA released just the 10 most-liked brands and declined to reveal which marques improved or dropped the most.
Mercedes-Benz ranked No. 6, moving up one spot and pushing Audi to No. 7. Volvo was No. 8 and Jeep was No. 9. Acura ranked 10th, bumping Ram from that spot and the top 10. NADA wouldn't say where Ram fell in the winter survey.
NADA twice a year surveys franchised dealers about relationships with their automaker partners. The survey measures satisfaction with franchise value and policies and the brands' field staffs. The winter survey was conducted from Jan. 7 to Feb. 8. Results were privately shared over several months with automaker executives and NADA's board of directors, said NADA spokesman Charles Cyrill.
The survey also measures a brand's willingness to consider dealer input and dealers' desire to grow their relationships with the brand. In a ranking about dealer input, Lexus also finished at the top. Toyota, Subaru, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Acura, Ford, Porsche and Volvo followed.
BMW dealers had the highest response rate with 88 percent completing the survey, followed by Toyota at 82 percent, Mercedes-Benz at 80 percent, Kia at 78 percent, Mini at 75 percent, Audi at 73 percent, Hyundai at 73 percent, Porsche at 72 percent, Ford at 71 percent and Acura at 69 percent.
The summer 2019 Dealer Attitude Survey will run July 8 to Aug. 9, Cyrill said. Results will be shared with automakers in late September.