They also accuse carmakers of exerting greater control over their businesses, despite the attempts of Block Exemption to achieve a more balanced relationship.
Most pessimistic are BMW and Subaru retailers, which report a fall in future profits rating of 0.8, taking BMW to a score of 2.8 – its lowest ever – and Subaru to 2.4 out of five, according to the summer RMI Dealer Attitude Survey. Kia and Seat, both down 0.6 and Mini, down 0.5, also faced setbacks.
In contrast, Chrysler and Proton recorded significant increases: Chrysler from 2.4 to 4.4 and Proton from 3.1 to 3.6. Their dealers are buoyed by future model plans.
Chrysler dealers were also the most positive about retained margins over the previous 12 months, despite falling new car sales, and they expect their business relationship with the carmaker to substantially improve over the next year, with an increased rating from 2.8 to 4.1 – second best behind Lexus.
Overall, 97% of dealers report that average retained margins in new car sales have fallen over the past year, while seven in 10 believe profit potential has not risen. Looking ahead, 62% of dealers do not expect profits from new car sales to increase over the coming 12 months.
Meanwhile 94% feel their carmaker exerts considerable control over their business, with almost half (47%) expecting that control to increase.
Sue Robinson, director of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association, says: “Manufacturer demands remain as high as before. New corporate identity, and in some cases new buildings are the price manufacturers are asking for the continuation of the franchise. In most cases, dealers have little option but to assent to these requests.”
The 10 best
The 10 worst