Suzuki Dealers give the brand a Platinum stamp of approval
Seen here at the NADA DSI survey announcement, are Brandon Cohen, Chairperson of NADA, Brendon Carpenter, Brand Marketing Manager at Suzuki Auto South Africa, Cristine Knight, Auto Dealer Sales Manager at Suzuki Auto South Africa and Ghana Msibi, CEO of WesBank. Byskrif: By die bekendmaking van NADA se DSI-opname, was Brandon Cohen, voorsitter van NADA, Brendon Carpenter, handelsmerk-bemaringsbestuurdder by Suzuki Auto Suid-Afrika, Cristine Knight, handelsverkopebestuurder by Suzuki Auto Suid-Afrika en Ghana Msibi, HUB van WesBank.

Suzuki has become only the second vehicle manufacturer (OEM) and fourth brand to earn Platinum status in the annual NADA DSI Awards.

The Platinum Award means that Suzuki has maintained a benchmark score of over 85% in the past year. The industry average is 76%.

The National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) Dealer Satisfaction Index (DSI) is an annual test of a vehicle manufacturer’s relationship with its dealer network. The Index is compiled by Lightstone Auto from over a thousand anonymous interviews with dealers about the good, the bad and the ugly in their relationship with a brand.

Suzuki Auto South Africa is a long-time participant in this survey and uses the feedback provided by Lightstone and NADA to improve all areas of its relationship with its dealers. “Our relationship with our dealers is paramount to our long-term success in South Africa.

“A vehicle brand can spend millions on marketing and have the best vehicles on the market, but if its dealers are not treating customers well because they have an adversarial relationship with the OEM, they will soon be out of business,” says Cristine Knight, Auto Dealer Sales Manager at Suzuki Auto South Africa.

The NADA DSI measures virtually every aspect of an OEM’s service to dealers. This includes its communication with dealers, its responsiveness to warranty claims, the composition and pricing of its vehicle range, its support of charitable causes, how it conducts its compliance audits and how it sets sales targets for dealers.

According to the 2024 NADA DSI, Suzuki has improved in virtually every criterion and it has come out tops in some of the most notable categories. This includes the best score in the categories for Dealer Target Setting, Franchise Compliance Audits, Media Support, Vehicle Range and the important criterion of overall Dealer Satisfaction.

“One should keep in mind that Lightstone does random and fully anonymous polls with dealers, so the feedback is raw and honest. For Suzuki Auto to be voted the best overall brand when it comes to the way it treats its dealers is no small feat, and we will use it as motivation to continue improving.

“Ultimately, the way we treat our dealer network is the way we want our customers to be treated,” says Knight.

Suzuki Auto has repeatedly said that it considers its relationship with its dealer network as an important proxy for its public brand acceptance and overall brand health.

The brand measures its relationship with its dealers through its own polls and the NADA DSI and by carefully studying dealer sales success.

“Bulk sales to large fleet buyers, such as vehicle rental companies and the government, are important to all brands. While these sales are important, Suzuki values individual sales to customers by dealers as a more important measurement of how healthy the Suzuki brand is,” says Knight.

With the above in mind, Suzuki dealers are regularly setting new sales records.

Most recently, in February, Suzuki dealers sold a record 4 488 of the group’s 5 221 new vehicles sold that month. This gives the Suzuki dealers an 86% share of total Suzuki sales, which is significantly higher than the industry average.

“We want to thank our dealers for their tireless efforts to support our Suzuki customers. You have been our trusted partners through thick and thin, which included stock shortages and COVID disruptions. We will continue to support you in every way possible and will use the feedback from the NADA DSI to guide our improvements,” says Henno Havenga, General Manager of Sales and Marketing at Suzuki Auto South Africa.