UK: Car dealers largely happy but fret about future

By just-auto.com editorial team | 10 September 2007

Relationships between car makers and their UK dealers are "stable and largely positive" despite this year's variable trading climate, according to a new survey.

The RMI National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Summer 2007 Dealer Attitude Survey, published this month, shows that the relationship between dealers and manufacturers continues to be positive.

However, the largely optimistic outcome is tempered by a sense of foreboding, with dealers suspecting that the good times might not last:

Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA, said: "The survey shows that the dealer manufacturer partnership is still strong, and even improving in a number of areas, despite 2007's seemingly unpredictable new car market.

"However, perhaps this volatility is feeding a sense of growing uncertainty, leading some dealers to feel that a negative change is just around the corner."

Robinson believes that dialogue is the key: "One of the most important positives highlighted by the survey is that dealers feel that manufacturers listen to them now. They need to keep listening, so that any doubts that dealers have can be allayed."

It was encouraging that the results of this latest survey seem to suggest that the manufacturer-car dealer relationship may be benefiting from a little more balance.

She added: "At a time when the new car market is at its most competitive, every sale counts and it will be those manufacturers that inspire the most confidence in their networks that will perform best in this uncertain climate."