The 2012 OEM report card

Publish Date: 
Oct 27, 2012

THE MARRIAGE BETWEEN franchised dealers and their vehicle manufacturers is a bit worse for wear, judging by the scores dealers levied in this year’s OEM Report Card. But has the relationship deteriorated, or are the dealers who survived the Great Recession a more demanding clientele?

While some progress had been made between 2008 and 2010, most gains were wiped out, with dealers downgrading the relationship with their OEMs in 14 of 17 categories. Still, scores are higher than they were in 2008, and three areas which are traditional Achilles’ heels of the OEM-dealer relationship —  flooring, margins and price competitiveness, improved over 2010, albeit slightly.

To be fair, we surmised two years ago that perhaps dealers were cutting manufacturers a little slack while the economy was coming out of free-fall. The surviving franchised retail community is a business-savvy bunch, and they have plenty of things to say. They just wish the manufacturers would listen.

Scores on overall communications dropped more than 6 percent since the 2010 survey. Most dealers indicated they were satisfied with vehicle quality; they just needed more units to sell. This year, support programs took the brunt, with dealers critical of advertising co-op, Service department and merchandising programs, and in some cases OEM rep support.

The Report Cards featured at the links below 2012 scores with grades (if available) from 2010 and 2008, plus select dealer commentary. (Click on the chart below for a larger view.)