Upfront: Kudos to EDA 2016 Dealer’s Choice Award winners

The Equipment Dealers Association (EDA) recently completed its 2016 Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey Report and subsequently announced the Dealer’s Choice Award recipients. The Dealer’s Choice Award is presented to manufacturers that receive the highest ratings in 12 operational categories.

Each year, EDA asks equipment dealers to select and rate the manufacturers that they represent (on a 1-7 scale). The 12 key categories in which the manufacturers are rated are as follows: 1) overall satisfaction, 2) product availability, 3) product quality, 4) product technical support, 5) parts availability, 6) parts quality, 7) return privileges, 8) communications with management, 9) warranty procedures, 10) warranty payments, 11) marketing and advertising support, and 12) manufacturer response to dealer needs/concerns. The survey was distributed to 12,769 equipment dealers in February 2016, and it included both EDA members and non-members. Fifty-five total manufacturers were included in the survey across four different equipment classifications: 1) full-line manufacturer, 2) tractor manufacturer, 3) shortline manufacturer and 4) outdoor power equipment manufacturer.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the following four Dealer’s Choice Award winners:

  • Full-line manufacturer: John Deere
  • Tractor manufacturer: LS Tractor
  • Shortline manufacturer: Vermeer
  • Outdoor power equipment manufacturer: Grasshopper

Since the inception of the Dealer’s Choice Award in 2013, Vermeer has achieved the top rating in the shortline manufacturer category for all four years. John Deere, LS Tractor and Grasshopper took top honors in their respective categories for the second consecutive year.

“Dealers build their businesses around products on which they can stake their reputations,” said Grasshopper President Stan Guyer. “This second Dealer’s Choice Award is validation we’re getting it right based on their expectations.”

EDA also bestowed Gold Level recognition to the manufacturers that received exceptional overall ratings. I would like to congratulate the following manufacturers for “taking home the Gold”:

  • Tractor manufacturers: Branson Tractor, Kioti Tractor and Kubota
  • Shortline manufacturers: Bourgault Industries, Claas, Degelman, Great Plains, H&S Manufacturing, Kuhn NA, Land Pride, Landoll, MacDon Industries, Meyer Manufacturing, Unverferth Manufacturing and Woods
  • Outdoor power equipment manufacturers: Ariens, Echo, Exmark, Ferris, Gravely, Hustler, Scag, Shindaiwa, Stihl, Toro, Walker and Wright Manufacturing

“We’re gratified by the response from our dealers — and with the entire Toro team for their support and hard work,” said David Alkire, vice president of Toro’s residential and landscape contractor businesses. “Much of our success as a manufacturer is tied to building strong relationships with our channel partners — and ensuring we stand behind our dealers with service, support and products that are second to none. It’s an honor to be recognized in this capacity.”

According to EDA, the total number of Gold Level recipients increased from 16 in 2015 to 27 this year, and, overall, average ratings improved and were more clustered as compared to last year. Dixie Chopper also deserves high praise for receiving its second consecutive Most Improved Award, achieving the greatest percentage increase in overall ratings from 2015 among all manufacturers.

For more information about the EDA Dealer-Manufacturer Relations Survey and the Dealer’s Choice Awards, visit www.equipmentdealer.org.

OPE Senior Editor Steve Noe