They are the 'In-Betweeners' , specialist sales and service dealers who are the vital conduit between the manufacturer and the end-user. Almost inevitably their numbers are diminishing as moves by manufacturers to establish multi-branch 'super-dealers' gathers pace.
There is often a clash of cultures between the priorities of major corporations with responsibilities to shareholders and family-owned dealerships whose priorities lie closer to home.
Are there enough well-resourced dealers to meet market needs? Will we see dealerships become attractive to outside investors? Will manufacturers be tempted to fully own dealerships in the future? And in the lawn and garden machinery sector, will dealers be able to take advantage of the rise in shop openings by independent retailers in response to the mass closure of chain store branches?
During the episode, Chris Biddle talks to Steve Gibbs, Editor of Service Dealer magazine about a recent but growing threat to dealers (16:50)
These and other issues will be explored by Chris over the coming weeks in conversation with those at the sharp-end of the industry.