Car dealers aren’t necessarily keen on selling EV models, despite the governmental push toward EVs, dealers seem unwilling to provide customers with information.
According to the Washington Post, a number of customers were surveyed and revealed that car dealers often tried to push them toward gas cars or gave them unclear information about EV models. In other words, buyers are saying that car dealers don’t seem to be prepared for a transition to EVs.
The combination of money being spent on EVs by automakers and claims by the current administration that two-thirds of new cars sold in the U.S. should be electric by 2032 would seem to indicate a future that’s widely electric. However, if car dealers are stopping EV sales through preference or misinformation, that appears to be a problem.
One of the Post’s stories follows a man who wanted to test drive the BMW i3 in 2016. According to his account, the car dealer staff told him that the car couldn’t be driven on the highway. The salesperson went on to say that the car couldn’t go over 45 miles per hour. The man in the story wasn’t dissuaded, however, and eventually bought the car.
In another story, a man in California test-drove several EV models over a certain time period but found that car dealers often gave him misinformation about the EVs and didn’t seem to know that much. The man in this story originally planned to buy an F-150 Lightning but ended up buying a Tesla Model Y instead.
Car Dealers Are Understandably Weary
There are some legitimate reasons why car dealers aren’t interested in selling EVs. The profit margins are slimmer, the sales are slower, and the tech is an unknown quantity. According to a survey conducted in 2022, nearly 70% of car dealers across the country did not have an EV available for sale. That was when the EV supply chain problems were at their worst.
However, about 30% of all dealers surveyed said they wouldn’t offer an EV for sale even if they could. There’s less economic incentive to sell EVs as well. A former salesman who now helps car dealers train salespeople to sell EVs said that an EV model takes longer to sell than a gas one. The latter might take only an hour in a single visit. But buyers often take up to four visits for an hour each before they decide to buy the EV.
Despite these problems, some car dealers are working hard to embrace EV models. According to one Ford dealer president, their salespeople are participating in official Ford training to sell EVs.
Regardless of what goes on in the next few years, it’s likely to be an uphill battle to get car dealers on board with selling EV models. After all, 66% is a pretty big number of car dealers that said they didn’t have an EV on their lot. And over 30% is a pretty big number of car dealers who wouldn’t even put them on the lot if they could.
According to some experts, car dealers are reluctant to change the model they’ve been using for years. And yet, the truth is, that car dealers have already changed aspects of how they operate in the last few years. Thanks to the pandemic, most car dealers have embraced online sales and even sales that take place completely away from the showroom.
It’s probably not too much to hope that car dealers will eventually embrace EV sales as well.
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