"Perhaps unsurprisingly, salespeople tended to promote the vehicle that is easier to sell, which outside of Norway, was undoubtedly not an EV."
A recent study published in the journal Nature by a team from Aarhus University in Denmark has found that car dealerships pose a significant barrier to electric vehicle adoption at the point of sale due to a perceived lack of business case viability in relation to gasoline and diesel vehicles.
Because most consumers do not have pre-existing knowledge of electric vehicles, car dealership experiences can strongly influence purchasing decisions, researchers from the University of Sussex and the University of Aarhus, in Denmark, found.
The researchers used mystery shopper experiences to investigate how dealerships approach selling EVs. In one dealership, a shopper was told not to purchase a particular EV because it will “ruin you financially” while another was told an electric vehicle “only goes 80 km”.
In an article for science journal Nature Energy, the academics who carried out the research said that, based on 126 shopping experiences at 82 different dealerships in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, “dealers were dismissive of EVs, misinformed shoppers on vehicle specifications, omitted EVs from the sales conversation and strongly oriented customers towards petrol and diesel vehicle options”.
This attitude towards EVs has been attributed to the fact that, in most of the countries where the research took place, incentives for people to buy electric cars are not as long-term as diesel and petrol vehicle incentives. “Thus, EVs tend to be a comparably less attractive option both for the dealership to sell and the customer to buy. As a result, these unfavourable market conditions for EVs are, in turn, reflected in dealer sales strategies, where we find a lack of willingness to sell EVs to mainstream customers,” the researchers said. “Perhaps unsurprisingly, salespeople tended to promote the vehicle that is easier to sell, which outside of Norway, was undoubtedly not an EV.”
They concluded that car dealerships and their staff create a “major obstacle to the uptake of passenger EVs” in the Nordic region, which “mirrors industry and government favouritism towards conventional cars”.
“Indeed, policy and signalling from government and industry are evident at the point of sale, and in turn create deterrents for car dealerships and salespeople to promote and sell EVs,” the article said. “Ultimately, the implication seems to be that EVs are at a severe disadvantage at the point of sale when competing with petrol and diesel options. Without more progressive action on behalf of industry and government, dealers have little to no incentive to properly sell EVs.”
[greencarcongress.com Friday 25 May 2018 05:25]