Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) on Thursday issued a press statement highlighting how Covid-19-related factors have had an impact on automobile dealers across the country and the challenges faced during and after the national lockdown. In the study, conducted in association with PremonAsia, a consumer-insight led consulting and advisory firm, found that while most segments had a low satisfaction score, OEMs like Kia, Toyota and Audi fared comparatively better in the passenger vehicles' categories while Hero MotoCorp was ahead in the two-wheeler segment.
FADA says the idea behind the study was to gauge how satisfied dealers had been in the recent past and are currently. It notes that there has been varying degree of differences. "While some dealers were better off, some received almost nothing in such trying times. It hence became very essential for FADA to gauge how the principals treated their channel partners, their first customers," FADA, which represents over 15,000 automobile dealers, informed.
FADA also notes that the two biggest concerns for 46% of all automobile dealers were support towards future business evolution and support towards re-starting business post lockdown. "Even before Covid-19 pandemic hit us, the Indian Automobile Industry was grappling with a prolonged slowdown. In fact, we were already degrowing for 15 odd months," said Vinkesh Gulati, FADA President. "Against this backdrop, Covid-19 outbreak has been a significant blow to the auto industry and especially to auto dealers which had almost broken auto dealers back bone."
That the overall satisfaction score was on the lower side is, therefore, rather obvious. "All segments of the market have recorded a weak satisfaction score below 600 which is understandable given that no one can be prepared in advance for handling such a calamity," said Rajeev Lochan, Founder of and CEO at PremonAsia. "However, OEMs like Kia Motors, Toyota Kirloskar (for 4W mass market), Audi (4W luxury), Hero Motocorp (2W) and Mahindra (CV small and light) have met expectations of their dealers relatively better than others."
The study covered dealers from all segments of the market – 4W Cars and UV (Mass market)/ 4W Cars and UV (Luxury)/ 2W (Scooters/ Bikes)/ 3W/ CV (Medium & Heavy)/ CV (Small & Light). It further probed dealership owners and CEOs on six factors which ranged from support on financial matters and support on customer communication matters to support for manpower, restarting businesses, lockdown-related factors and future business evolution.
On a max scale of 1,000, Kia scored 736, followed by Toyota Kirloskar at 641 and Maruti Suzuki at 574 in the mass market four-wheeler segment. In the luxury segment, Audi scored 610, followed by BMW at 531 and Mercedes-Benz at 500. Among two-wheeler makers, Hero Motocorp managed 623 and was followed by Honda Motorcycle and Scooter (567) and Royal Enfield (509).
Moving forward, automobile dealers will continue to look at OEMs in earnest because while the festive period may bring in some cheer, it could be a temporary relief at best as was observed in 2019 as well.