Kia Motors ranked top by car dealers in NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey Summer 2018

September 3, 2018

Kia Motors has pulled away from the car manufacturer pack to become the highest rated franchise among UK car dealers in the NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey Summer 2018 – reclaiming its title from a faltering Mercedes-Benz.

The Korean manufacturer tied with Mercedes-Benz and Toyota as the top-rated OEM overall in the National Franchised Dealers Association’s Winter 2017/18 survey with a score of 8.9-out-of-ten when dealers were asked to deliver and ‘overall’ rating six months ago, but scored 9.1 to claim an outright victory this time around.

Among the Kia franchise’s strengths, car retailers who responded to the survey rated the frequency of introduction of new models (9.3), the ability to do business with the manufacturer of a day-to-day basis (9.3), and satisfaction that its dealer standards are fair and reasonable (9.0), most highly.

Toyota maintained its 8.9 score in second place, with Lexus rising into third with an 8.7 (Winter: 8.6) as Mercedes Benz slumped, showing the most pronounced netgative points swing of any manufacturer since the last survey to end a recent run of high scores with an overall rating of 6.7 which left it in eighth place.

Mini and Mazda tied for fourth place with 7.5 ratings.

NFDA overall manufacturer ratings, top five:​

Citroen was the only brand to break up an FCA Group-dominated bottom of the rankings, the PSA Group brand finishing joint second-bottom with an overall rating of 3.4 alongside Jeep.

Alfa Romeo finished dead last with 2.1 and Fiat was joint fourth-bottom with Jaguar, scoring 3.6.

NFDA overall manufacturer ratings, bottom five:​

The overall rating among manufacturer franchises rose by 0.4 to 5.7, however, a trend that NFDA director Sue Robinson described as “encouraging to see”.

She added: “Positively, there has been a general increment in satisfaction levels across the key questions of the survey. Additionally, although some of the top performers had lower scores than six months ago, we are pleased to see that the majority of the bottom networks have experienced solid improvements.

“Going forward, it is vital that the relationships between retailers and manufacturers remain as healthy and constructive as possible and we will continue to liaise with manufacturers to ensure that the interests of our members are safeguarded”.

The NFDA carries out the Dealer Attitude Survey on a biannual basis. The results of the survey indicate potential issues affecting the dealer/manufacturer relationship and highlight where there are healthy working relationships in place.

In summer 2018, NFDA surveyed 30 franchise networks and received 1,715 responses from dealers, equating to a 40% response rate.

With an overall average of 8.5 points across the whole survey, Kia had the highest average score across all questions.

Toyota and Lexus followed with 8.2 points. At the other end of the table, Fiat (4.2), Jeep (3.8) and Alfa Romeo (3.2) had the lowest scores although they have all improved from six months ago.

The NFDA was able to identify Mitsubishi as the most improved franchised network with an overall increase of 60.7 points across all the questions of the survey partly due to the impressive 98% response rate.

Following disappointing performances six months ago, Renault, Abarth and Honda saw upward movements too.

Robinson said: “The NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey is a crucial barometer of the status of working relationships in the automotive sector and we are pleased to see that manufacturers continue to place enormous value on the survey.”

Car manufacturer franchise average points movement across all questions:

Source: AM Online

JCT600 courts portfolio additions after losing BMW Bradford franchise

August 4, 2018

JCT600 is in discussion with potential additions to a premium-leaning car dealership portfolio to “fill in the gaps” after losing its retail franchise with BMW in Bradford.

The Bradford-based retail group will end its long-standing new car retail relationship with the German premium carmaker when its current contract ends on October 1, following the completion of a 12-month notice period.

But in an interview at the Porsche Centre Leeds this week, JCT600 chief executive John Tordoff told AM that the group’s operations on Sticker Lane, Bradford, would not end abruptly after over 15 years of serving the city’s BMW owners.

Tordoff said: “JCT600 will continue with a BMW aftersales operation and we’ll be selling used cars from the site.

“We own the land and the facility and we have the customer database for the area, so we’re in a very strong position from that point of view.”

Tordoff claimed that BMW Bradford had been the German brand’s best performing site in Yorkshire during 2017.

He added: “Customers have been asking us why this has happened and I don’t have an answer, but we are able to continue to deliver a service to them.”

JCT600’s list of franchise partners grew in July with the addition of Jaguar Land Rover and is soon to embark on a new wave of investment in the Porsche brand.

The group added Jaguar and Land Rover dealerships to its business with the acquisition of Pendragon’s former standalone sites in Doncaster earlier this month and is currently planning the expansion of its Porsche Centre in Newcastle and an upgrade of the Porsche Centre Sheffield.

Tordoff suggested that volume brands – JCT600 represents Kia, Mazda, Mini, Peugeot, Seat, Smart, Volkswagen and Vauxhall – were also still realising good profits, despite the uncertainty of the current economic climate.

He said: “There are brands like Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari and Porsche that are flying at the moment and that has been great for us, but the volume brands have continued to do good numbers for us and realise a profit.

“We have a few gaps to fill and we are in discussion with two or three manufacturers that would be a good fit for us. As with every brand – luxury, premium or volume – you have to weigh up the pros and cons of investment and return.

“There are certain brands that you look at and it’s very difficult to see how the levels of investment demanded will be justified.”

In the past eight months JCT600 has spent over £7m on retail property with the opening of its Porsche Centre Teeside, a redeveloped Peugeot Bradford dealership and the £1m refurbishment of its Sheffield Mercedes-Benz site.

Now investment is about to get underway at the Porsche Centre Sheffield, with a nine-month redevelopment and expansion operation set to begin at the Porsche Centre Newcastle this month.

A statement issued by JCT600 described the works at the facility on the Silverlink Business Park as “a further demonstration of the Porsche brand’s commitment to the North East following the opening of a brand new Porsche Centre in Teesside just a year ago”.

The two new JLR sites will also need to be brought together under the brands’ Arch Concept retail standards, Tordoff said.

He added: “We bought the two JLR sites in the full knowledge that we will have to develop a single-site Arch concept facility in Doncaster and we are fine with that.

“For some time Jaguar and Land Rover have been the most obvious brands missing from our portfolio and it’s good to finally have them. They are two brands that we have faith in the future of.”

Last month JCT600 reported a 2% rise in turnover to £1.25 billion in the face of “challenging market conditions” in its annual financial results for 2017, adding that it expects “fierce competition” to continue in the automotive retail sector.

It also recorded an increase in gross profit and operating profit, which saw an increase before exceptional items to £19.1m.

JCT600 said that its performance in the retail sector showed only a modest decline, significantly outperforming the overall market, whilst crediting its growth on a strategic focus on the sales of used vehicles and aftersales.

Nigel Shaw, group finance director at JCT600, said: “Despite strong competition both from other physical retailers and from the internet-based dealers, our ongoing investment in people, dealerships and systems is enabling us to retain our competitive advantage.”

Source: AM Online