Jul 10, 2023 | Industry

NADA Dealer Satisfaction Index crucial gauge for dealer satisfaction and investment

Johannesburg, 10 July 2023: The National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA) Dealer Satisfaction Index Survey (DSI) results were released on Thursday night, July 6th, during an event held in Fairland, Johannesburg, and hosted by WesBank. The event was attended by esteemed captains of industry from the OEMs / Importers, dealer network, financial institutions, and other special guests.

The NADA DSI survey, now in its 27th year, monitors the relationship between dealers and manufacturers. It serves as a platform for dealers to provide feedback to manufacturers and importers. The survey’s outcomes have been utilised by dealer councils and manufacturers to address concerns and enhance service delivery, benefiting consumers.

The awards serve as an essential indicator of not only dealer satisfaction but also as a yardstick for investment, said  Ryan Seele, Executive Member of the NADA NEC in his opening address. “While a score alone cannot ensure sustainability, it reflects the willingness to collaborate and work together. Those partners who actively engage with their councils to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes will witness increased dealer investment and, consequently, the success of both the brand and its network.”

Lightstone has been the research partner for the NADA DSI for an impressive duration of 27 years, steadfastly maintaining this position since the research’s initiation. The overall DSI score has increased by 0.2% in 2023 to 76.4% and is the second-highest score recorded since 2003 despite all the challenges currently facing the automotive industry.

“In a remarkable display of participation, a total of 34 brands, comprising 25 Passenger/LCV and 9 Commercial vehicles, actively took part in the 2023 survey. This notable level of involvement positions the survey as one of the most comprehensive studies ever conducted within the South African industry,” said Jaco van Staden, head of sales at Lightstone. 

He further mentioned that the NADA DSI survey conducted in 2023 received an outstanding response rate, with 86% participation from the Passenger/LCV segment and 78% participation from the Commercial segment. 

“These impressive response rates greatly enhance the survey’s value as an effective feedback mechanism, ultimately strengthening the relationship between dealers and manufacturers/importers,” added van Staden.

Once again, the Communication and Relationship category emerged as the most crucial predictor of Dealer Satisfaction in 2023, further emphasising the vital role played by this research.

Passenger and LCV Results

This year, a total of 21 Passenger / LCV brands achieved an overall percentage above

65%, thus receiving an award. The most improved brand in 2023 is Subaru (+7,5%). Other brands that showcased a significant positive increase in overall satisfaction are Mahindra (+5,8%), GWM and Haval (+4,8%) and BMW (+4,1%).

For those brands who offer branded used car programs, dealers are most satisfied with the Used Car program available. This is followed by dealers being most satisfied with the Goodwill, Policy Claims & Warranty category, followed by Media Support, though satisfaction with Media Support has declined since last year. Vehicle Distribution was previously the area dealers were least satisfied with, but this category has improved most during 2023 and is no longer the biggest pain point.

Repeating their 2022 performance, Toyota and Hyundai both achieved Platinum Status in 2023, while 9 Manufacturers achieved Gold status. The gold award winners are Lexus, Suzuki, Mini, Kia, Chery, Mitsubishi, BMW, Renault and Volvo. Three brands achieved silver status in 2023 and seven brands achieved Bronze status.

Summary of Passenger / LCV results:

AwardManufacturer or Importer
Most ImprovedSubaru
PlatinumHyundai, Toyota
GoldBMW, Chery, Kia, Lexus, Mini, Mitsubishi, Renault, Volvo
SilverFord, Mahindra, Mazda
BronzeAudi, Isuzu, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen

Commercial Vehicle results

The Commercial survey was first introduced in 2008. Since 2008, the highest overall average score of 78% was recorded in 2018. The 2023 overall Commercial score has improved from 77.2 in 2022 to 77.9, the second highest score achieved since inception of this study.

This year, eight participating brands achieved an overall percentage above 65%. The most improved brand in the 2023 NADA DSI is UD Trucks, moving from an overall percentage of 72.7% and a silver award in 2022 to a gold award in 2023, scoring 75.2.

The bar for achieving a Platinum Award is set quite high at above 85%, with Hino hitting this mark in every study since 2019 and are again the only Commercial brand winning a Platinum award in 2023. MAN maintained their second position overall and took home a gold Award together with UD Trucks. Four brands achieved silver status, with only one bronze award made in 2023 (Mercedes-Benz Bus), who previously participated in 2021 but was not evaluated separately in 2022.

Summary of Commercial Vehicle results:

AwardManufacturer or Importer
Most ImprovedUD Trucks
GoldMAN, UD Trucks
SilverMercedes-Benz Trucks, FUSO, Isuzu Trucks, FAW
BronzeMercedes-Benz Bus

“Our warm congratulations go to all the Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners and we hope to see more manufacturers moving to the Gold and Platinum award categories during the next round of evaluations in 2024.

“It is encouraging to see that, over the years, the NADA dealer survey has established itself as a reliable and respected tool for identifying any potential issues that may impact the working relationship between retailers and manufacturers. We extend our sincere appreciation to all those who have taken the time to participate in this annual initiative,” concluded Seele.

Most Improved