Almost half of dealers surveyed in the latest Litmus Test say they are more optimistic about their business prospects compared to three months earlier. And 44% predict a rise in profits over the next three months.
But dealers are still faced with rising investment costs to meet manufacturer franchise standards.
Two-thirds of dealers say manufacturers’ demands have intensified since last year. Forty-five per cent have invested less than £50,000 meeting manufacturer standards, 20% spent £51,000-£100,000. Five per cent – all AM100 dealers - invested more than £1m on either major refurbishments or new premises.
Asked whether it has helped them to improve sales, 60% of dealers say no; just 17% yes. Most tellingly, 69% say the investment has not helped them to become more profitable, a view held by 82% of AM100 dealers.
Further investment is required this year, with more than half of dealers (54%) expecting to invest up to £50,000 in their facilities. Just 16% expect to make no investment in meeting standards.