Surprise! New study finds auto dealerships unprepared for EVs

Chevy Dealer

EV boosters have long been frustrated by the lack of electro-enthusiasm at most auto dealerships. Market research company Ipsos RDA recently investigated the situation, and found that the EV sales process at traditional dealers “has not been differentiated from the traditional process and is, in effect, passive. The [lack] of inventory, as well as critical EV ownership information…leaves shoppers with unanswered questions.”

Ipsos RDA’s Electric Vehicle (EV) Sales Experience and Best Practice Study examined the sales process across automotive brands. Ipsos deployed mystery shoppers to 141 dealerships representing 11 brands in the 10 largest EV markets in the US.

They found that the sales experience is inconsistent: “Consumers shopping for a specific EV model may have distinctly different experiences from one dealership to another in the same brand family – one well-informed, educational and supportive, the other completely lacking.”

Many dealers have few or no EVs in the showroom, and salespeople have little knowledge of them, so they often steer consumers toward other, non-EV models that they are more comfortable selling. “Attempting to switch a shopper away from their EV interest is not only damaging the likelihood of a potential sale, but it can damage the trust a consumer has with the dealership,” said  Ipsos Senior VP Mike VanNieuwkuyk.

Ipsos found one notable exception: “Tesla sales staff, advantaged given their EV-only product line, exude a passion for electric vehicles and are equipped with the information needed to help consumers make informed decisions.”


Source: Ipsos

  • tim spofford

    We’ve had a traditional hybrid in the past and now have a PHEV Audi eTron. In contemplation of replacing our other car, I visited a dealership to look at a Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid which, to its credit, the dealership had on the main floor. After he realized that I wasn’t asking about USB jacks, the salesman couldn’t find the charging port.

    • Markus Jordi

      Heck, be patient with the poor fellows!
      Who, do you think, voulounteers for a job as a car sales person?
      Certainly not someone who would qualify for a college professor´s job!

  • Vincent Wolf

    It’s inconsistent or non-existent because Detroit has no intention of pushing EVs. They don’t want to ruin their cash cows but Tesla will do it for them!

    • Bob Aceti

      The Chinese will likely own the largest segment – they’ll reverse their global strategy of making everything in China and selling/exporting to the world. China will become the leading foriegn direct investor in USA & EU EV auto plants to dominate the world market from North American and European operations. How else can they free-ride low wages at home (China) and get away with employing non-union workoholic robots to build less expensive EVs than the other carmakers’ can?

      And the nativist, MAGA attitude of President Trump is feeding into the hands of the Chinese manufacturing jugernaut. As the cost of US made products increase – they are not likely to decline – Chinese products will look more attarive to sticker-price consumers. After-all, Americans are the leading consumers of goods in the world and buying American has its limits. One only needs to reflect on the resurgent Japanese auto sector in the mid-late 1960s that eventually comepted head-on with Big Three US automakers, especially after the Oil Crisis raised awareness of car buyers to gas-sipping Japanese autos – Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, etc.

    • rg michel

      Well, my experience with dealerships is that they knew nothing about ICE cars, never mind EVs. So, we have known about this behavior for decades. Who would go to a dealership for information in any circumstances?

  • Bill Guthrie Its ashame EV makers really don’t want their cars to go farther if they did they would use my patent to make cars go farther even coast to coast without stopping to charge. Air induction charging and storage system make a 2battery system never stop to charge switch from one battery to the other battery charge the one you just used just keep switching back and forth. They won’t because it illuminate S the need for charging stations and chargers at home. Gas would drop to about $.10 a gallon, this is why no one wants this to go into production. Just think never pay to charge your car.