Electric vehicles [EV] have a lot going for them, most notably minimal fuel costs and minimal carbon-dioxide emissions. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to hitting the mainstream for apprehensions regarding range, recharge time, and up-front expenses.
The last place we would expect to find apprehension is the dealership, but unlike EV-only dealers, it seems that conventional car dealerships are getting out of their element when it comes to marketing EVs.
In a study done by AutoRetailNet, 85% of Toyota’s own dealerships agree with Toyota’s dropping the iQ EV / Eq model, even though they have the RAV4 EV model to contend with. Only 5% of dealers think an EV could be a best-selling model, while 61% of them believed that an EV would end up on their lot soon.
The problem has to do with education. New vehicles already require up to four hours to explain all the features, and even then, the consumers don’t recall all of it, that is, if the salesperson knows it to begin with. Unfortunately, there is just so much that goes into a sale, that the average salesperson at a conventional dealership just doesn’t know how to market an EV.
Nissan and Chevy dealerships were very poorly prepared when they rolled their EV technology, so who would expect sales to be any good if the salesperson himself doesn’t have a passion for it?
Dealers also have to remember that their customers are very different than they used to be. They are more likely to have done their own research, and an ignorant salesperson might just put them off. So, to eliminate the problem, Toyota dealers don’t seem to be pushing very hard on EV sales.
Interestingly, while 70% figured hybrid vehicles would continue to dominate, 15% seemed to think that hydrogen-fuel cell [HFC] vehicles showed promise. Toyota seems set to release an HFC vehicle in 2015, so we’ll have to see if dealers can get on the ball this time.