Kia, Toyota, Audi, Hero and Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India (HMSI) have emerged as frontrunners in the passenger vehicle and two-wheeler segments, meeting their dealer partner expectations in post-COVID-19 support. The findings were based on a ‘Dealer Support Satisfaction Study’ conducted by the Federation of Automobile Dealers Association (FADA) in conjunction with advisory firm PremonAsia.
Study results show Kia offered best dealer support among mass-market car brands
Audi stands above fellow German brands BMW and Mercedes in dealer support
Hero and HMSI lead amongst bike manufacturers
Purpose of the study
The survey set out to understand expectations and satisfaction levels of dealers with respect to the support received from the carmakers on different aspects of business operations to mitigate the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It covered dealers from all segments of the market, including passenger cars and utility vehicles, luxury passenger vehicles, two-wheelers, and commercial vehicles.
Speaking on the survey Vinkesh Gulati, president, FADA said, “Various OEMs came forward to support their channel partners in this hour of crisis, but the support received varied across segments and manufacturers. The FADA-PremonAsia survey aims to find out whether the support lent by OEMs was enough in bailing out their first customers,” Gulati added.
The digital study probed dealer owners and CEOs from across India on six major factors:
OEM support received on financial matters
Support regarding customer communications
Support on dealer manpower matters
Support on lockdown related matters
Support on restart of business
Support on future business evolution
The segment-wise findings of the study are as follows:
Passenger vehicles: Kia emerged at the top; Toyota a close second
While dealer satisfaction levels were generally weak across the PV segment, with most carmakers averaging below 600 (on a 1,000-point scale), brands like Kia Motors India and Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) have met their dealer partner expectations better than others.
What worked in favour of Kia was that the carmaker was able to record stronger level of satisfaction on areas of communication and dealer manpower-related matters. Senior management of Kia maintained regular and close communication with dealer owners and offered adequate information on communication with customers waiting for their vehicles. Dealer principals were also content with the fact that Kia offered online engagement to motivate and enhance knowledge of sales and service staff at the dealerships.
On the other hand, TKM too exceled on the fronts of expediting settlement of all claims including warranty, marketing, sales incentives, and payments. The carmaker also assisted its dealer partners financially on their vehicle inventory – both at the dealerships and those in transit. Toyota also was sensitive and supportive of dealer-specific business issues and deployed personalised solutions.
Two-wheelers: Hero and Honda top the list
Similarly, in the two-wheeler space, while overall satisfaction levels remained below an average of 600, Hero MotoCorp was able to meet the dealers’ expectations better than others.
With COVID-19 pandemic taking a toll on profitability and casting shadows even on business sustenance in low-volume, high-cost dealer operations, the report also outlined the way forward for automobile dealers to ensure survival in the tough situation.
While dealers would need to cut costs and exercise greater financial discipline to survive, there is also going to be a big role to be played by data analytics, as well as digital marketing and technology in ensuring growth, sustenance, and profitability.
With an increased focus on digital and contactless retail, 50 percent of the respondents in the survey believe that the need for physical dealership infrastructure will reduce over time.