How Would Dealers Rate Their Brand? Scorecard Ranks Winners and Losers
Cox Automotive, in conjunction with Automotive News, just released its Retail Brand Scorecards Study for 2018. The survey is interesting in that it ranks the perceived value of automakers by assessing how desirable they are to dealerships via an A-through-F grading system. Though, as engaging as it might be to look at these traits from a highly specific viewpoint (how dealerships see you in relation to specific manufacturers), we’re not sure how useful the average consumer will find them. Dealers and industry geeks, however, may want to take notice.
“This study represents a comprehensive review of brands from a unique perspective — how well they support the success of dealers,” said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke. “As we assembled the data and began to see how the brands performed differently, we started looking at the results as grades in high school, where the most well-rounded and high-achieving students are those who perform well across a wide range of disciplines. With that scorecard framework, we found a clear set of brands that are honor-roll worthy, as they are in essence the hardest-working, most successful students.”
By separating desirable aspects into “subjects” tied to a graded system, you get a better sense of where specific manufacturers are weak. Core subjects include a brand ability to capture the “best customers” (people who frequently purchase new vehicles and get most of their servicing done at the dealership) to the newness and diversity of a brand’s lineup.
There are even metrics for the general attitude associated with a given brand, how much digital/physical traffic their products receive, and customer loyalty, with bonus points awarded to automakers for delivering consistent shares across market areas or allowing dealers to work more freely with OEMs.
Overall, this put premium nameplates on a more consistent average. Their ability to repeatedly acquire the “best customers,” while also offering fresher lineups and a superior public image served them well. Unfortunately, this meant that one major demerit in any category had the ability to throw them to the bottom of the pile.
For example, Jaguar scored well in most categories. But its lackluster vehicle range and middling consumer loyalty resulted in the lowest overall score of any luxury automaker. Tesla, Genesis, Porsche, and Land Rover were also severely impacted by their limited model offerings — despite the latter pair being almost unstoppable everywhere else. Were it not for their more focused fleets, all four would have placed much higher overall.
The takeaway here should be just how close a race it is between most premium brands. “One additional vehicle in the Lexus lineup would have put [them] on top of Mercedes,” explained Smoke.