Research by AM sister-title Sewells reveals that franchised dealer satisfaction fell from an all-time high of 80.1% in 2004 to 77.8% this year.
And in the case of independent used car dealers, satisfaction fell for the second year running from a peak of 85.6% in 2003 to 82.0% in 2005.
Despite these falling satisfaction ratings, dealers rated some finance companies higher than in previous years and the top-performing companies clearly exceed dealers’ expectations.
The newly-launched Sewells Used Car Finance House Survey shows that DaimlerChrysler Services increased its rating year-on-year to 87.2% and was effectively the highest rated finance company in the franchised sector.
For independent used car dealers, Close Motor Finance was highest rated at 85.0% after taking account of the huge array of small finance companies and brokers vying for business in this sector.
The Sewells Used Car Finance House Survey 2005, which attracted 936 responses from franchised and independent used car dealers, also looked at the trends in dealers’ finance penetration and market shares by finance house – both measured in the same way since the inception of this important research in 1996.
Figure 1 illustrates the trend in dealers’ finance penetration since 1997 and includes new cars using data from the parallel Sewells New Car Finance House Survey. While the absolute value of the data cannot be independently verified, the trends are undeniable and confirm the tough times dealers are having selling finance up against stiff competition from direct lenders.
As for market shares, vehicle manufacturers’ finance companies together take 39% (by vehicle units), and the independent finance companies take 61% with three companies - Black Horse, Capital Bank and GE Capital – taking 47% on their own.
The major players in the used car finance business all use this survey to benchmark their performance in an extremely competitive market, which is under increasing pressure from direct lenders. The survey allows dealers to have their say, and we are in no doubt that finance companies have listened and improved their offer as a result.