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NFDA lobby group gets tough on standards

Dealer standards was at the top of the agenda at the June meeting of the RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Lobbying Working Group.

The franchised dealer working party, which meets every two months, examines key issues facing retailers ahead of the next Block Exemption Regulation (BER).

"Dealer standards is an issue that continues to grow in importance for franchised retailers as the new car market follows a downward spiral, while manufacturers insist on yet more investment from their networks," says Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA.

In the most recent Sewells and RMI dealer attitude survey, 97% of dealer networks reported declining margins and two thirds said that the demands made on them by their vehicle manufacturer are unfair.

Year-to-date new car sales are down by 4.2%* and dealer profitability is at its lowest ebb at an average of 0.5% return on sales. However, despite this slowing market, the latest poll of NFDA members finds that manufacturers’ demands have actually increased over the last three years.

Robinson continues: "Our research shows again and again that manufacturers demand ever more from their dealer networks, particularly investment in the cosmetic, such as signage, showroom and furniture - all items that our members tell us do not translate into sales or profit.

"This issue is a priority for the Lobbying Working Group and we are committed to campaigning strongly to ensure it is at the top of the European Commission’s agenda as it prepares for the next BER."

*SMMT figures

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