U.S. franchised dealerships polled in April and May saw a favorable market and expected it to continue next quarter. But their optimism has been tempered by economic uncertainty and the issue of interest rates, according to the latest quarterly index survey from Cox Automotive.
The April 24-May 7 Cox Automotive Dealer Sentiment Index survey of 568 franchised dealer representatives and 492 independent dealer personnel revealed franchisees score the current market a 56, up two points from the first quarter, and rated the market three months ahead a 57, up a point.
Scores greater than 50 indicate dealers view conditions as positive or improving.
Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke told Automotive News on Monday the new-vehicle market is getting better, which despite modestly declining profitability has kept franchised dealerships bullish during a time independent retailers have grown more pessimistic.
"Summertime is always strong for business, and we are already seeing more calls, floor and Internet traffic!" a Northeast Jeep dealer told Cox.
But the one-point increase in future sentiment isn't statistically significant, according to Smoke, who said uncertainty about economic issues kept dealers from being more optimistic about the next three months.