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Driving Up Dealer and Customer Satisfaction – The Benefits of Automotive Dealer Relationship Research

November 30th 2016

TTi Global Research pioneered the Dealer Relationship Survey (DRS) programme for the automotive industry in 2007.  Its ability to measure car dealers’ satisfaction – and competitor behaviour – quickly led DRS to become the research vehicle of choice for numerous multinational car giants, including Honda, Mazda, Kia and Volkswagen.  

But how does DRS work and how could dealer research boost your brand’s car sales?

The global automotive industry is highly consolidated with only a small number of corporations (14) responsible for producing 55 different car brands. The competition to win bigger market share in domestic and international markets is intense. But with vehicles distributed and sold via a network of independent dealers and distributors operating in several different world markets, managing a brand’s retail experience is complex, costly and frequently inconsistent.

Additionally, advances in multi-channel automotive marketing – from high profile TV and digital campaigns to pop-up events – means that customers’ knowledge and expectations are higher than ever.

Fine-tuning the face-to-face buying experience to meet customers’ ideals is a challenge all car manufacturers face.

Recognising that satisfied dealers lead to more satisfied and brand-loyal customers, an increasing number of automotive manufacturers are joining the DRS programme to pinpoint and resolve dealer frustrations and operational inconsistencies.         

The Automotive Dealer Relationship Survey – How It Works

TTi Global’s DRS is an international syndicated multi-brand research programme available to all automotive manufacturers.

Survey distribution is handled centrally and participants are asked to complete a web-based questionnaire. To ensure manufacturers’ gain a complete market picture, the survey is translated into 30 languages and issued across European markets as well as India and the Far East.

The most comprehensive relationship research programme of its kind, DRS equips vehicle manufacturers with in-depth feedback on the service and support they provide to dealers.

As well as identifying dealer satisfaction levels and key drivers for building successful dealer relationships, DRS delivers a focussed action plan for improving systems and processes to enhance dealer satisfaction.

Optimising support for dealer principles and managers, in turn allows sales managers and frontline staff to offer an enhanced customer experience, increasing customer satisfaction and, crucially, car sales performance.

Further benefits of DRS participation include:   

  • Visible performance benchmarking of car dealers against competitors
  • Market segmented analysis allowing direct data comparability
  • Identification of areas of low areas of dissatisfaction by business function or location across all markets 
  • A syndicated approach where members share costs and gain a larger volume of comparable data
  • Clear, consistent market-wide communication increasing survey participation and response rate
  • Tracking of response rates in real-time and quick data retrieval via online dashboard
  • Personalisation of question set, data used and survey appearance to reflect manufacturer’s brand values
  • Facilitated workshops and presentations of key findings and targeted action plans for improvement    

Maximum Automotive Dealer Insights to Improve Performance

DRS’ success in capturing and trouble-shooting the root causes of dealers’ dissatisfaction lies in its all-encompassing structure.

The survey questions probe 16 core business functions, ranging from the ease of new vehicle ordering and delivery, through to the level of marketing and sales support provided. It also tackles aspects such as dealer investment, financial services and training.

This intelligence allows manufacturers to target precisely where greater support is needed – whether that’s more funding, field-led support, or staff/product training and development - to enhance the dealers’ experience and increase sales opportunities.              

Enhance Your Dealer and Customer Relationships, Raise Car Sales

If you’d like to evaluate and enhance your relationship with your network dealers, contact TTi Global Research. [link to contact page]

Alongside running the industry-leading DRS programme, we are the market research partner of choice for several well-known luxury and volume car brands, car dealerships and car servicing centres.

We design and conduct an extensive range of automotive surveys, including customer satisfaction surveys, lost sales analysis and mystery shopping – gauging your customers complete journey from consideration of purchase and booking a test drive to your team’s product knowledge and negotiation skills.        

To find out more, contact our automotive research specialists today on or email .