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Dealer satisfaction matches 2007 high

Dealer satisfaction with its manufacturer partners is at its highest point, according to the 2009 Sewells annual dealer attitude survey.

The overall dealer satisfaction with manufacturers rose from 65.9 last year to 66.8 points out of 100 in 2009, which matches the highest levels of satisfaction ever achieved back in 2007. The survey was based on the opinions of over 600 franchised dealers.

Fifteen of the 30 car manufacturers in this year’s survey recorded higher average dealer ratings in 2009 - while 13 manufacturers saw their overall dealer ratings fall this year.

Mini dealers were the most satisfied with an overall rating of 82.2 out of 100. Lexus came in second with 78.7 points and BMW came third with 78.2 points.

Alfa Romeo, Chrysler Jeep and Dodge, Daihatsu, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Suzuki, Toyota, Vauxhall and Volkswagen all saw drops in satisfaction levels.

Kia’s satisfaction rating rose from 67.3 to 75.9 in the 2009 survey and Subaru’s network satisfaction also shot up from 49 points in 2008 to 63.7 points this year.

One of the main objectives of Sewells’ Dealer Attitude Survey is to identify the most crucial issues that have the biggest influence on dealers’ satisfaction with their manufacturer partner.

Once more, the top issue is dealers’ ‘relationship with the manufacturer on sales and marketing’, which has held on to top position for the past six years. The second and third most important issues are ‘manufacturer’s understanding of important issues’ and their ability to ‘respond well to important issues’.

The survey provides analysis of dealers’ views about their manufacturers and key areas for improvement.

This year, the survey also sought dealers’ views on the effectiveness of any special measures car manufacturers may have introduced to help their dealers counter the severe car market downturn and other pressures triggered by the recession – such as finance and product incentives, stock levels, stocking finance, demonstrator commitment and targeted marketing programmes.

Special product incentives and the reduction of stocking levels was viewed on favourably by dealers by reducing demonstrators, introducing special stocking and demonstrator finance was viewed on the most poorly by dealers.

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