With a total mean score of 6.12, Wright Mfg. took the lead among OPE manufacturers in this year’s Equipment Dealers Assn. (EDA) Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey.
The survey, which enables equipment dealers throughout North America to rate the manufacturer lines they carry in key operational categories, was open from Feb. 4 through March 4, 2021.
EDA’s survey allows dealers to rate up to 7 manufacturers they carry and collects data on their experience in 12 categories including product quality, availability and technical support; parts availability, quality and return policy; communication, warranty, marketing/advertising support and a separate rating for overall satisfaction. Respondents could rate manufacturers on a scale from 1-7, where 1 is “extremely dissatisfied” and 7 is “extremely satisfied.”
The 2021 survey contains a list of 61 manufacturers that received the minimum number of dealer ratings required to be included in the report, including full-line manufacturers, tractor manufacturers, shortline manufacturers and outdoor power equipment (OPE) manufacturers.
Broken down by occupation, 64% of respondents were dealer-principals, 15% were general managers, 7% were branch/store managers, 9% were sales managers, 3% were parts managers and 2% were service managers.
It is important to note that the survey results were only representative of a snapshot of dealers’ thoughts in early 2021, with the potential for results to “change relatively quickly due to a number of external factors or situations.”
Wright Mfg. De-Thrones Scag
The 2021 report saw Wright Mfg. take the lead with a mean score of 6.12, officially de-throning Scag from its 1st place in the 2020 report for the first time in the last 5 years. In the 2021 report, Scag came in 2nd with a mean score of 6.09, down from its 2020 score of 6.19.
Wright Mfg. received the highest score among OPE manufacturers in 7 of the 12 categories dealers were able to rank their manufacturers in, including communications with management, parts quality, parts availability, product quality and overall satisfaction.
Walker received the highest ranking in product technical support, marketing & advertising support and manufacturer response to dealer needs/concerns, while Scag took 1st in product availability and return privileges. This is a more diversified result than the 2020 report, when Scag earned the top spot in every category aside from warranty procedures, where Shindaiwa took the top slot with a score of 6.01.
In the most recent report, Walker came in third with a mean score of 6.03, up slightly from 6.02 in the 2020 report. Shindaiwa followed in 4th with a mean score of 5.97 vs. taking 5th in the 2020 report with a mean score of 5.93. Exmark had the 5th highest score in the 2021 report at 5.95, down from a 3rd place score of 5.99 in the 2020 report.
Husqvarna received the lowest mean score among OPE manufacturers in the 2021 report at 4.82, a year-over-year increase from its 4.72 score in the 2020 report, also the lowest in the OPE category. In the last 5 years, Husqvarna received the lowest mean score among OPE manufacturers in 2020 and 2021, with Snapper receiving the lowest scores in 2019 and 2018 and Arctic Cat ranking lowest in 2017.
Wright Mfg.’s first place score in the 2021 report represents a notable upset when examining scores from the previous 5 reports. Since 2017, Scag has taken the top slot for OPE manufacturers every year except 2021, with a 5-year top mean score of 6.25 in 2017. From the 2017 high, Scag declined to a 5-year low of 6.10 in 2018.
Wright Mfg., on the other hand, placed in the top 5 best-rated OPE manufacturers twice in the last 5 years including its top place slot in the 2021 report and receiving the 4th highest rating in the 2020 report at 5.96.
Among the 12 categories dealers were given to rate their manufacturers, Scag showed declines in every category except return privileges and manufacturers response to dealers needs/concerns, while Wright Mfg. showed improvements in every category except product availability.
Scag’s most notable decline since 2017 was in warranty procedures, going from 6.20 in 2017 to 5.89 in 2021. Wright Mfg.’s most notable increases between 2017-21 were in manufacturer response to dealer needs/concerns (5.05 to 5.97), product technical support (5.66 to 6.19) and communications with management (5.39 to 6.08).
OPE Manufacturers vs. All Manufacturers
In the 2021 report, the mean aggregate score for all OPE manufacturers was 5.52, a slight year-over-year decrease from an aggregate of 5.54 in the 2020 report. This was also a record low aggregate score for the last 5 years, though the aggregate OPE score remained above the score of all manufacturers at 5.31 as it has every year since 2017. 2021 also saw the aggregate score of all manufacturers reach a 5-year low and its third year of decline in a row.
It’s worth noting that the current supplychain issues impacting the industry have brought product availability scores down across all manufacturer categories. Not accounting for the drop in product availability scores, the aggregate score for all OPE manufacturers actually rose from 5.52 in 2020 to 5.54 in 2021.
By category, OPE manufacturers had the highest overall score in parts quality at 5.96, a slight year-over-year decrease from an aggregate score of 5.97 in the 2020 report. This surpassed the aggregate parts quality score for all manufacturers, which came in at 5.81.
OPE manufacturers received their lowest aggregate score in the 2021 report in “marketing & advertising support” at 5.19 vs. 5.11 in the 2020 report.
Comparing scores among all manufacturers by category, the top score in 8 of the 12 categories was received by an OPE manufacturer in the 2021 report, including overall satisfaction, product availability, product quality, parts availability and parts quality. Bourgault received the top score among all manufacturers in communications with management, marketing & advertising support and manufacturer response to dealers needs/concerns. Branson was the only tractor manufacturer to receive the highest score in a category, scoring 5.90 in return privileges.
With nearly 90 pages of data and charts, the 2021 Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Report is available to all EDA dealer members and to participating manufacturers. Manufacturers may also obtain data that includes company breakouts by region and their individual dealers’ comments. For more information, contact Joe Dykes at JDykes@EquipmentDealer.org.