It’s not really news that auto dealerships are a significant roadblock to wider EV adoption. A 2017 study found that most traditional dealers have few EVs in their inventory, and are unprepared to answer customers’ questions about EVs. In some cases, dealers actively discourage buyers from going electric.
A new study from Aarhus University in Denmark, “Dismissive and deceptive car dealerships create barriers to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale,” published in Nature Energy, reiterates that car dealerships pose a significant barrier to EV adoption.
In 126 “mystery shopper” experiences at 82 car dealerships across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, the Aarhus University team found that that dealers were dismissive of EVs; misinformed shoppers on vehicle specifications; omitted EVs from the sales conversation; and steered customers towards gas and diesel vehicles.
The study authors also interviewed 30 experts from automakers, importers and trade associations. A majority of these noted that dealership management and sales personnel are uninterested in selling EVs because of anticipated low profitability, lack of knowledge and the greater time required to close a sale.
Among the study’s findings:
- Out of the 126 dealership visits, only 8.8% of the encounters resulted in the shoppers preferring an EV option over a legacy ICE vehicle; this drops to just 2.9% outside of Norway.
- In 77% of the dealerships visited that had EV models available, the salesperson did not mention the existence of the brand’s EV.
- In two-thirds of all the shopping experiences, sales personnel strongly encouraged the customer to select a gas or diesel vehicle, and actively dismissed EVs, even when dealerships had EV models for sale.
- In 71% of the visits, dealers demonstrated either low knowledge of EVs or none at all.
Source: Green Car Congress