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.”