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2009 a profitable year for dealers according to Deloitte report


The 2010 Deloitte Motor Industry Overview has highlighted how some Australian motor dealerships have successfully weathered the economic storm in 2009 with Australian new vehicle sales of 937,328 units, down only 7.4% on the previous year sales, in stark contrast to the USA which plunged over 20% compared with the previous year.

The report attributes a range of factors including the government stimulus package, low interest rates, tax incentives, short vehicle supply and good business practices to the doubling of bottom lines for many dealerships.

According to Mr Danny Rezek, Partner Deloitte Motor Industry Services, 2009 was a remarkable year. Normally the average dealer makes between 1-1.4% net profit on sales, the benchmark dealers make 2 to 2.5% but in 2009 the average dealer finished the year around 2% whilst the benchmark group moved to 3%.

“We now need to ask ourselves if the party can continue in 2010. The key to success will be measured in product, price and process. The growing Australian economy backed by new products at great prices will be the call to action in 2010. Buyers will have a plethora of choices so the dealerships which continue to focus on processes will be the winners this year,” said Mr Rezek.

“Our industry analysis shows that the Australian automotive industry is now a very open and competitive market. The ultimate winners will be the consumers who are now enjoying a smorgasbord of choice and great value,” said Mr Rezek.

“Also the better performing dealers will return to basics like maximising test drives, converting enquiries to appointments, setting benchmarks, measuring performance, incentivising actions, tightening expenses and creating accountability. A large challenge for dealers will be to avoid reverting back to complacent bad habits as the economy improves,” added Mr Rezek.

Key highlights of the report were:

  • Overall market leadership went once again to Toyota for the seventh consecutive year, selling 200,991 vehicles with a 21.46% market share
  • Holden finished a distant second behind Toyota and the Holden Commodore achieved the title of Australia’s top selling model for the fourteenth consecutive year
  • The USA was eclipsed by China for the first time in 2009 relinquishing their title as the world’s largest automotive retail market
  • 2009 heralded the arrival of the first of the new Chinese brands into the market with Great Wall Motors. Chinese brands such as Chery and Geely are expected to launch vehicles into the Australian market during 2010
  • Only 16% of vehicles sold in the Australian market in 2009 were locally produced. In the mid 1990s it was around 50%
  • The need for local manufacturers to build small cars is paramount as there has been a steady decline in large car sales over the past decade
  • The long term future of the Australian automotive industry rests in successful export programs and the strong Australian dollar has made it challenging for exporters over recent times
  • Over 80% of retail customers will use the internet as an information gathering tool before they physically visit the dealership. Customers also use the internet as a means of disposing of their original vehicles privately, rather than trading it into the dealer.

The report also detailed dealers, who had developed strong parts and service operations, managing to buffer the economic storm. This was due to parts and service revenue tending to be relatively stable in the short to medium term.

“We have found that many dealership brands have recently embarked in implementing fixed price service programs in order to improve customer service retention. This combats the aggressive marketing by non-new vehicle franchise and independent service operators who, in the past, have created the perception that dealer servicing is expensive,” concluded Mr Rezek.

Dealers are now placing greater focus on better asset management across most dealerships. The report found that the better operators have become far more selective with external trade customers and assessing their true net contribution by taking into account all the resources devoted to servicing each customer and cash flow.

Please download the report below.

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Danny Rezek
Deloitte Western Sydney
Job Title:
Office Managing partner
Tel: +61 2 9322 3889; Mobile: 0412 627 781
Jane Kneebone
Deloitte Australia
Job Title:
Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications
Tel: +61 3 9671 7389, Mobile: +61 416 148 845




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