However, most of their department heads did not fare quite so well.
Only sales managers also enjoyed a significant rise, averaging 5.5% in total salary including bonuses. By comparison, service managers earnings rose only 1.1% in the same period, well below inflation (2.8% in February on the Consumer Prices Index) bodyshop managers received a 3.3% increase and parts managers gained 2.9%.
Data published in the Automotive Industry Pay Guide 2007 by Sewells Information and Research puts dealer principals on average total pay of £60,196, of which £13,110 is bonus, and sales managers on £44,454, of which bonus is £14,963.
The report states: “Since dealer principals are invariably bonused on net profit, the increase in total salary indicates a small improvement in profits. This would seem to contradict the statement that franchised dealers are feeling the effects of a drop in business. But it is not necessarily the case that a fall in business activity automatically means a loss of profits if action is taken to bring expenses and overheads in line.”
Sales executives are now paid £31,760 on average, of which £17,553 is bonuses. This is close to the salary of aftersales management – service managers earn £33,445, bodyshop managers earn £31,610 and parts managers earn £27,835.
The highest rewarded franchise is BMW. Its dealer principals earn £87,626 on average, almost twice the £45,706 pay of DPs with Fiat/Alfa Romeo franchises, which ranked bottom. Sales managers at BMW dealerships earn £53,268, better than second-placed Mercedes-Benz’s £50,403 average and far ahead of Škoda, ranked bottom at £34,603.
Provision of a job car continues to be an important benefit for all managers. Eight in 10 dealer principals, sales managers and service managers have a company car, while seven in 10 bodyshop managers and six in 10 parts managers receive the same.
The 2007 Pay Guide details pay per region and nationally for 24 franchised dealer jobs. At national level it also covers employment conditions and benefits, plus retail and warranty labour rates.