America’s new-car and -truck dealers are committed to selling consumers the vehicles that they want and need. Electric and hybrid vehicles are here, and America’s vast franchised dealer network is eager, excited and essential to the successful deployment to the mass retail market. Dealers are all-in on EVs and are investing billions of dollars in their stores and staff to improve the purchasing experience and reduce barriers to electric-vehicle ownership.
Automakers are finally building and marketing dozens of EV models in the most important and popular vehicle segments, including trucks, full-size SUVs, and mid-size SUVs. Over the next few years, the U.S. will go from having just a dozen fully electric models for customers to choose from to more than 40. To cater effectively to mass-market buyers – of any drivetrain – and enhance adoption of electric vehicles, the country needs to capitalize on what has worked for mass-market buyers for generations: the franchised dealer network.
Future EV buyers expect to get EV education at their local dealership, according to research by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm with deep ties to the U.S. auto industry. Escalent’s 2021 landmark research study, EVForward, found that 57% of future EV buyers prefer the traditional approach to car buying, while just 20% favor a direct-sales approach.
In addition, most of the 30,000 future EV buyers that Escalent surveyed said they prefer to have many of the phases of the car-buying process, including test driving, completing the transaction and getting the vehicle serviced, take place in-person at a dealership rather than virtually.
In short, dealers are absolutely essential in the EV world.
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