Mini, Kia voted best brands to work with in NFDA Dealer Attitude Survey

By Staff
10 Min Read

Mini and Kia have been crowned the best brands with which to work, according to the latest business barometer.

The latest Dealer Attitude Survey conducted by the National Franchised Dealers Association attracted 2,321 responses from 32 franchised networks over a five-week period, asking franchised dealers questions about their business relationship with their respective manufacturers.

It revealed a general upward trend across most questions, with 47 out of 56 questions showing an increased average score compared to the previous survey last summer.

Sue Robinson, chief executive of NFDA, said: “NFDA congratulates Kia and MINI on being joint winners of this edition of the survey. It is also notable that seven Stellantis Group brands have shown some improvement with many of these brands among the lowest scoring in previous editions of the survey. “There are encouraging takeaways with 47 questions out of 56 seeing a general upward trend in average score. There are also areas the DAS has identified where there is still room for improvement, notably manufacturers addressing concerns highlighted by dealers regarding electric vehicles.”

Lowest overall manufacturer rating was Jaguar while Jeep was deemed the most improved brand compared to the summer 2023 survey.

Federico Izzo, director for Mini UK and Ireland said the relationship with its retailers is central to the business success of the network and of the MINI brand in the UK and I would like to say thanked them  for their unwavering energy and support.

“This makes the result of the latest NFDA survey especially pleasing, particularly at the start of a year when the MINI brand is going through a renaissance, with three all-new models launched onto the market and the transition to electric power well under way.”

Paul Philpott, president and CEO of Kia UK said the manufacturer was thrilled to once again be named as the number one brand in the latest NFDA survey, and for the third consecutive time.

“This result is a testament to the strength of our relationships with our dealer partners, with whom we work so closely. Importantly, we have listened and learned from one another, and our customers, to build Kia into the diverse brand it is today.

“With the recent launch of our new flagship, the fully electric seven-seater EV9, we are furthering our appeal and attracting new customers to the brand, which ensures a healthy mix of new and existing interest in the brand.

“We have just achieved our best ever Q1 sales, which follow our best-ever sales year in 2023, itself following 2022 when Kia first reached more than 100,000 sales in one year. This isn’t isolated growth but the culmination of years of hard work, investment in our people, trust in our product and faith in our customers.”

In Detail

Profit Return

Dealer satisfaction regarding current profit returns have experienced a slight decrease, with an average score of 6.1, down – 0.1 from the Summer 2023 edition (-1.6% change). Assessing the trends from previous DAS surveys, current profit return scores have been variable with dealers having had to weather global supply chain shortages and a cost-of-living crisis. Kia held top spot with a score of 8.8, a reduction of – 0.3 from their score of 9.1 in the previous survey. MINI and Lexus rounded off the top three with scores of 8.3 and 7.7 respectively. The lowest scores were received by Jaguar (2.7), DS (3.5) and Seat (3.9).

Conversely, dealer satisfaction levels for future profit returns appear more optimistic with the average climbing to 6.1, a 0.3 increase. Kia again held the top spot with 8.7, followed by Lexus with 8.0 and Dacia with 7.7. Jaguar (3.1), Seat (3.5) and DS (3.5) received the lowest scores although Jaguar and DS did improve on their scores received in the previous edition (1.6 and 1.3 respectively).

Electric Vehicles

The survey saw all questions regarding electric vehicles (EVs) receive an increase in average scores. Despite this, worries remain among dealers with manufacturer support for on-site EV charging infrastructure, receiving an average of 5.2 out of 10, the lowest returning score for the entire survey.

Kia claimed the top spot in each EV topic featured in the DAS, whilst Seat received the lowest score.

The new question on EVs for this edition highlighted that over a third of dealers were dissatisfied with how the ZEV mandate is affecting new vehicle orders.

The survey reveals that despite some progress from the previous edition, there is still room for improvement as EV topics again featured among the lowest-scoring questions. Despite substantial investments made by dealers during the transition to electric vehicles, concerns continue regarding manufacturer support and profitability.

Used Cars

Scores for used cars persist in registering the highest ratings within the survey, and notably, in certain instances, they have shown further improvement.

Since the previous edition, dealer satisfaction with manufacturers’ used car standards remains high and the average score has increased from 7.1 to 7.4, the highest returning score in this edition of the survey. This was followed by targets set by manufacturers for used cars, receiving an average score of 7.3, a 9.0% increase. Honda and Kia were first and second respectively in both questions, whilst Alfa Romeo and Jaguar were the lowest scoring.

Most Improved

Supply of new vehicles continued to show the largest increase in score with 27 out of 32 manufacturers showing gains since the previous edition of the survey. This metric has increased consistently in recent surveys and is a good indicator that global supply chains are improving.

The average score in manufacturers’ new vehicle supply in the Winter 2024 survey saw an increase to 6.4 from 5.5 (0.9 score increase) in the Summer 2023 edition, a change of 16.4%. Nissan (8.4), Kia (8.1) and Mazda (7.8) received the highest scores. Despite this, some manufacturers have also seen falls in dealer satisfaction with new vehicle supply. Jaguar (2.9), Audi (3.1), Seat and Volvo (both 4.3) received the lowest scores.


Dealer opinions around manufacturer’s apprenticeship programmes has risen by an average of 0.2, from 7.0 in the Summer 2023 edition to 7.2 in this edition. Lexus claimed the top spot with a score of 9.7 followed by Kia (9.2) and BMW (9.0). The previous top spot holder, MINI, slipped down the table to seventh place with a score of 7.7 whilst Cupra (5.8), Land Rover, Citroen and Seat (all receiving 5.9) obtained the least favourable ratings.

Manufacturer Relationship

Dealer satisfaction with their ability to do business with manufacturers on a day-to-day basis has increased by 0.6 to 7.1, a change of 9.2%. This is certainly a positive development and Stellantis Group brands saw the biggest improvement in manufacturer relationship after scoring low in previous surveys, including Citroen (+148%), DS (+146%) and Vauxhall (+132%). Conversely, Jaguar saw a decline of -32%, followed by Cupra (-19%), MG (-18%), Audi (-17%) and Volvo (-15%).  

Overall Manufacturer Rating

The all-important question ‘How would you rate your manufacturer overall on a scale of 1 to 10?’ returned an average of 6.6, a 0.3 increase from our Summer 2023 edition. MINI (9.23) and Kia (9.23) shared the spoils as joint winners of this edition of the DAS, with Lexus (9.0) again being a strong performer. At the other end Jaguar (2.9), Alfa Romeo (4.0), and Land Rover (4.1) received the lowest scores. Jeep improved the most with a 3.8pts increase in rating from the last survey.

Biggest Overall Movers and Shakers

Notably, in this edition of the survey, when dealers were asked to rate their manufacturer overall, 18 brands saw an improvement of their average score whilst 13 brands witnessed a decline. 7 of the Stellantis Group brands featured in the largest top 10 gainers.

Manufacturers who increased their overall rating the most include DS (+180.0%), Jeep (+165.2%) and Vauxhall (+145.8%) ranking twenty ninth, seventeenth and twenty first respectively.

Manufacturers who saw a decrease in their rating include Land Rover (-26.8%), MG (-20.3%) and Mazda (-18.7%) who were ranked at thirtieth, fourteenth and eighteenth respectively.

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