Toyota Kirloskar Motor emerged at the top in the J D Power Asia Pacific 2014 India Dealer Satisfaction with Automotive Manufacturers Index (DSWAMI) Study. Scoring a whooping 925 points on a 1,000 point scale, Toyota Kirloskar was followed by Maruti Suzuki with a score of 884 points. Honda Cars came third, close behind, with 869 points.
Overall, dealer satisfaction with carmakers averaged at 827 points in 2014, up from 817 points last year.
This study, by J D Power, strives to evaluate dealer satisfaction with carmakers or importers in India, and identifies dealer attitude towards the automotive retail business.
Factors like vehicle ordering and delivery, warranty claims, after-sales, training and support from the manufacturer are taken into consideration. The study revealed that car manufacturers in India are increasingly striving to help their dealerships cope with a slowing domestic market by aiding them improve their after-sales services. Overall car sales this year have dropped six percent as compared to last year.
Despite an overall improvement in dealership satisfaction, only 42 percent of the dealers expect a profitable financial year 2013-14. In the metros, only 31 percent dealerships expect to stay above the red line.
Dealers rely on sales-related proceeds from new-car sales, accessories, insurance and credit/ loans commissions for about half of their revenues. Given the slump in car sales, a larger number of dealerships have reported estimated losses in 2014.
"Given the relatively weak outlook on vehicle sales, dealerships are concerned about the viability of their business," said Mohit Arora, executive director of J D Power Asia Pacific. "Increasing the share of service revenue is one of the ways in which dealers can survive in these tough times. Retaining customers beyond the standard warranty period has always been a challenge for dealerships in India. With sales revenues under pressure, focusing on their service business is essential not only for enhancing dealer viability, but also ensuring survival," added Arora.
Key findings of the study are:
• Carmakers are increasingly helping dealers fund their spare parts inventory. In 2014, 48 percent of dealers indicated receiving financial assistance to buy spare parts stock, up from 41 percent in 2013.
• Nearly half (48%) of dealers indicate their warranty claims are settled within 15 days, compared with 42 percent in 2013.
• Warranty labour rate—the hourly rate at which the automaker reimburses the dealership for any work performed on the vehicle under warranty—is reported to be higher this year. 25 percent of the dealerships reported warranty labour rates of more than Rs 300/hour, up 18 percent than in 2013.
• The study finds that 19 percent of dealers perceive that their automaker does not have a range of vehicles to compete effectively in the market. This leads to a substantial dip in their overall satisfaction score.
• Dealers in India are increasingly seeking greater support from automakers towards enhancing the effectiveness of their marketing and sales-related activities. Those who receive such support have not only reported higher satisfaction scores but also are more likely to indicate they are profitable.