Dealers could do more to plug into hybrid demand

  08 May 2018

No two ways about, retailers in the new and used sector need to put more muscle into selling hybrids and EVs because there is an open goal at the moment just waiting for someone to score.

We are in a sort of phoney war at the moment, where AFVs are being hyped up and generating a huge amount of interest but this isn’t quite being converted into firm orders.

True, some manufacturers are still not supplying their retailers with hybrids and I know of one Fiat retailer who is tearing his hair out at the lack of opportunity to meet and satisfy customer calls about them. I dare say there are plenty more! It is equally true to say that there is not yet a plentiful supply trickling through to the used car sector.

But while mine is hardly an exhaustive or scientific study, I have mystery shopped a few showrooms, new and used, posing as a would-be customer for a second hand hybrid to see what they could offer me because I have heard a lot about them and have been scared off a diesel.

The response was not good. A surprising number don’t have a recharging facility so I couldn’t take a test drive, others said their technicians are not trained or have the equipment to do pre-sale checks on them so they don’t stock them. One was honest enough to admit that fears over battery life and any resulting nastiness after selling a used one was enough to put them off carrying any stock of hybrids.

But come on, everyone can see which way the wind is blowing and there is ample evidence of a deep well of interest, a clear potential for sales.

As the NFDA said this week, retailers need to play their part in pushing this bandwagon along.

It is a rare thing indeed for dealers to have solid opportunities in the current market and I am not convinced that enough are making the most of it.

Time to plug in?


John Swift


Auto Retail Network

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