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Consumers Have Spoken: Local Dealerships Are the Preferred Place to Buy EVs

Published March 11, 2022

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Sheryll Poe

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Consumers looking to buy electric vehicles (EVs) today are different than the early EV adopters, who were more tech-savvy, cutting-edge and into newness for the sake of newness.

However, both groups of potential EV buyers—both the early adopters and latest converts—have one thing in common: They want to buy an EV from a dealership, according to Mike Dovorany, Vice President of Automotive and Mobility at Escalant, and the project lead for EVForward.

“Early EV adopters were willing to make compromises. They were also really much more actualized—doing their own research and doing their own work. Later buyers are relying more on dealerships and on others to help make their decisions,” Dovorany said during his Friday session on the NADA Live Stage with NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton.

According to Escalent’s “EVForward” study, 57% of future EV buyers prefer the traditional approach to car-buying, while just 20% prefer a direct sales approach.

In addition, the majority of those surveyed said they prefer that many of the phases of the car-buying process—including test drives, completing the transaction and planning for future vehicle service—take place in-person rather than virtually.

Consumers need financing and want to test drive the vehicles they are interested in. They want to learn about sales prices and warranties, and they have questions about what it means to go electric, Stanton observed.

“Research shows that customers expect to rely on their dealership,” Stanton said. “The vast majority want to talk to someone and get these questions answered in person.”

Dovorany added: “There’s some openness to doing some of the steps virtually, but still overwhelmingly, [they want to do] things in the way they’re used to when it comes to making this major purchase,”

Check out more of Stanton and Dovorany’s session in the video below.