Does the trade push used EVs properly?

  18 November 2018 - 7:00pm |    John Swift

Is the trade missing something of a trick in the way it pushes and promotes second-hand hybrids and EVs?

We can all see which way the wind is blowing. In Q3 demand for used plug-ins, hybrids and pure EVs rose almost 30% and although the numbers overall are small in the scale of the total industry volume, not quite 30,000 set against 2 million, this figure will surely only grow. At the time of writing (Sunday) Auto Trader listed about 470,000 used petrols and diesels and only 9,500 AFVs but that is still a respectable figure and a good opportunity for business in a growing sector.

Given the way the market is now, and will probably head next year, isn’t that something to build on? AFVs will only get better in price and practicality and in doing so become ever more appealing to the retail buyer, not just the company car driver concerned about tax but Mr and Mrs Average who might well buy petrol/diesel now but who have seen the headlines about hybrids and are interested enough to be asking if they fit into their budget and lifestyle.

At the very least it’s a solid foundation and apocryphal stories from the showrooms indicate that interest is building even if in many cases not yet quite at that tipping point where people choose an AFV. Price is the main hurdle but that will change.

So why doesn’t the trade push them harder?

A quick trawl of supermarkets or even the franchises reveals that you have to drill down a few layers from their website’s landing page to find the first reference to them, usually when choosing fuel type. But it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of these cars or a reflection of the growing interest in them, is it.

Apologies if I’ve missed them but I am not aware of any specialist used AFV independents either. There are for 4x4s, for certain marques, for sportscars but not yet for AFVs.

The warranties might be an issue, as is getting stock, but if someone is interested enough to pick up the phone, to visit the forecourt or even Google `used hybrid’ than that’s halfway to a sale and yet the trade seems oddly Ill-prepared to take advantage of that.

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