Study Finds Dealerships are Unprepared to Sell EVs

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【Summary】Market research company, Ipsos RDA, finds dealership sales tactics are holding EVs back.

Original Mia Bevacqua    Dec 03, 2017 5:55 AM PT
Study Finds Dealerships are Unprepared to Sell EVs

Buying an electric vehicle shouldn't be the same as a buying a used Ford Taurus. Yet, at many dealerships, it is. 

A recent study by Market research company, Ipsos RDA, found that the EV sales process at dealerships is the same as it is for other vehicles. To make matters worse, dealerships don't have enough EV inventory, or knowledge to make a successful sales pitch. Auto dealerships are completely unprepared for EVS.

Research Findings 

Ipsos sent mystery shoppers to 141 dealerships to conduct its survey. Those dealerships are owned by the 11 different brands, representing the 10 largest EV markets in the US. 

The experiences mystery shoppers had at the dealerships were inconsistent. For one dealership that was well-versed in EVs, there were three that weren't. Often times the discrepancies were between different franchises of the same brand. 

Since sales people have little experience with EVs, they tend to shy away from selling them. It's easier – and in their eyes, more profitable – to steer customers towards a non-EV model. Everyone knows how to pump fuel into a gas-power vehicle, but not everyone knows how to charge an EV. Plus, it's hard to make "sales person of the month" selling EVs when there's at most, one or two on the lot.


In the study, Ipsos found only one exception to this trend – Tesla. The market research company chalks this up to the fact the Tesla staff have a true passion for their all-EV line. 

Ipsos annual study

Ipsos conducts its Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales Experience and Best Practice Study annually. The study examines the sales process across automotive brands currently offering EVs.

According to Mike VanNieuwkuyk, SVP of Ipsos, "Many OEMs have already introduced electric vehicles to their product lineups and there will be many more in the coming years. The results of this study can assist OEMs and dealerships in establishing an informative and supportive sales process focused on the unique elements of Electric Vehicle ownership."

In other words, EVs aren't going anywhere, so OEMs better shape up. 

Sources: Charged EV Magazine and Ipsos

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