Manufacturers' control of their retail networks has become less of an issue than profitability and sales targets, according to the National Franchised Dealers Association.
The NFDA’s Summer 2008 Dealer Attitude Survey, published today, has examined where motor retailers feel their franchises have room for improvement.
Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: “Dealers are looking at all aspects of their operations at present in order to maximize efficiencies.
“This includes the manufacturer requirements they must meet, and the services provided to them as a result of this partnership.
“If there is a balance between what they must do and what they gain from the relationship, dealers will be satisfied.
“However if demands are too onerous, with scant benefits to show for it, dealers will question their current arrangements.”
In broad terms, the survey shows dealers are generally satisfied with their current arrangements, with two thirds happy with the level of control exerted by their vehicle manufacturer and satisfied with their brands’ value and image.
But almost half are not satisfied with the returns from their franchise or the sales targets set them.
New car targets and bonuses
On the issue of negotiations of new car targets, the happiest dealers are with Jaguar, Proton, Alfa Romeo and Volvo.
Those representing Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan are least happy.
In terms of bonuses, the results are similar, with Jaguar heading Audi and Proton with top performances, while Nissan, Peugeot, Fiat, Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Subaru only score average satisfaction.
Few dealers are dissatisfied with their manufacturers incentive programmes for aftersales, with only Seat and Hyundai receiving a poor rating.
Toyota and Lexus are rated equally highest in this respect, although notably no franchise received a very good rating from its network.
Franchise profit returns
AM Carmaker of the Year Audi scores top on this issue, reinforcing its position as the franchise-to-have.
Prestige rivals Jaguar and Alfa Romeo are also rated well, joined by Vauxhall, Proton, Suzuki and Kia in the mainstream segment.
Mercedes dealers are least happy, with Saab, Subaru, Chrysler and Peugeot also receiving poor scores.