AN: Domestic Dealers Suffering, Transplants Not So Much
Automotive News [AN, sub] reveals the results of an "unscientific online survey" of "more than 400" U.S. new car dealers. AN paints a predictably bleak picture– for the domestics. "Among dealers who sell Detroit 3 domestic brands, nearly one-third say their dealerships are in the red. The only argument you'll get from a lot of them is whether this is the worst business climate dealers have faced in 20 years, in 35 years — or ever… 'The future is quite bleak,' says a veteran Ford dealer… 'Many dealers are looking for the exit.' But matters are far less dismal for Toyota, Honda and Nissan dealers. Nearly all say their dealerships remain profitable." Reaffirming that [unscientific] result, AN says half of the [participating] Detroit dealers have less staff than last year, while a third of Toyota, Honda and Nissan dealers have added personnel. "And half of the Detroit 3 dealers surveyed said most of the new-vehicle customers they now see are 'upside down,' owing more on their trade-ins than the vehicles are worth." Meanwhile… "Life in Toyota-land is good," says Dan Luneau, owner of Handy Toyota in St. Albans (VT).