Dealerships identify pre-election pressure points in survey snapshot

Three quarters of dealerships are coming under significant pressure from manufacturers to help them meet zero-emissions targets despite demand for electrified cars remaining ‘very weak’.

The snapshot comes in the latest pre-election survey conducted by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) which represents car and commercial retailers across the UK.

Between 30 May-14 June, it surveyed members to gather dealer opinions in the run-up to the General Election on 4 July.

Many dealerships rated consumer demand for non-ICE vehicles for May 2024 as ‘very weak’ at 46% while 44% were ‘pessimistic’ for their business’ trading performance for the second half of the year.

Dealerships were also asked how much pressure they are receiving from their respective manufacturers to sell electric models and meet the Zero-Emissions Vehicle Mandate target for this year. 39% responded ‘a great deal’ whilst 32% put ‘a moderate amount’.

Dealerships were asked about those areas of their business where they are currently experiencing skills shortages. In the survey, 82% of respondents noted ‘technicians’, while 53% identified ‘sales executives’.

The top three current most important issues that dealerships note as affecting their business were: slowing demand in EVs and meeting ZEV mandate targets (69% ranked this as their first choice); attracting and retaining quality staff/skills shortage (33% ranked this as their second choice); and lack of charging infrastructure was also a prominent concern with 24% ranking this as their second choice.

The top three most important issues that dealerships want the next government to address are: restimulating the private electric vehicle market (41% ranked this as their first choice); reforming business rates followed closely behind (32% ranked this as their first choice); and increasing and improving electric vehicle charging infrastructure was the most frequently ranked second choice (27% ranked as their second choice).

Sue Robinson, NFDA chief executive, said: “In the survey, dealerships have highlighted the sector’s persistent skills shortage, restimulating the private electric vehicle market and reforming business rates as fundamental areas which will need addressing from the next government. NFDA has consistently raised these issues with the previous government, and they are central themes in NFDA’s General Election manifesto.

“Once the election has concluded and the dust settles, it is crucial for the next government to work with NFDA and the wider industry to tackle the concerns of dealerships and consumers alike.”

The survey received 51 responses from various franchised dealership groups across the UK, collectively representing over 300 sites.

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