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Optimism Remains High Among Independent Dealers

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Feb. 1, 2018—Results were largely positive from the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association’s business confidence survey for the fourth quarter of 2017.

According to NIADA, economic and retail sales growth expectations of independent auto dealers have improved significantly recently.

The survey of NIADA members is typically conducted in partnership with Equifax to gauge the views of used vehicle dealers regarding general economic conditions and business concerns. Fifty percent of the dealers surveyed said they expected economic conditions to improve in early 2018, up from 36 percent in the association’s previous survey.

Meanwhile, the survey revealed that retail sales growth expectations among members improved from 55 to 67 percent, and the number of dealers who expected to increase their inventory investment in the upcoming quarter rose 17 percentage points, a 42.5 percent increase from the third quarter of 2017.

The big drivers of that renewed positivity include expectations of tax relief from the new tax bill passed by congress, positive consumer sentiment due to the lowest unemployment rate in more than 30 years, and confidence in the current administration’s pro-growth policies.

Used vehicle inventory costs remain strong, with the latest Manheim wholesale pricing index up 7.8 percent from the prior year, at 134.5.

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