Independent Dealers Grow More Optimistic Featured
30 March 2017
The latest installment of the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association's quarterly Business Confidence Survey reflects immense optimism from independent used vehicle dealers regarding retail sales, consumer traffic, profitability and economic conditions.The survey, conducted in partnership with Equifax during the first quarter of 2017, showed confidence in all of those areas was up substantially from the previous quarter and year over year.Nearly two-thirds of respondents indicated they believe the economy will improve in the next quarter, a significant increase from the previous survey, in which only 34 percent expected economic improvement, and the 36 percent of the first quarter 2016 – that year's highest percentage. Just 2 percent said they expect the economy to decline, down from 22 percent in the fourth quarter survey.It's the first time since the third quarter of 2015 that a majority of survey respondents have expressed a positive outlook on economic conditions.That optimism is reflected throughout the survey. More than half (53 percent) of the respondents plan to invest in more retail inventory, up from 41 percent in the previous survey, and 54 percent expect to hire new sales staff (up from 32 percent), as 70 percent anticipate retail sales to grow (up from 46 percent) and 71 percent expect customer traffic to increase (up from 36 percent).On the financial side, the percentage of dealers expecting cash flow to improve (57 percent, up from 34 percent) and credit availability to expand (32 percent, up from 23 percent) over the next quarter was also sharply higher.