Should EVs be treated differently?

  02 December 2018 - 7:00pm |    John Swift

From a manufacturer’s bonus and targetting point of view, should plug-in cars be treated any differently to a conventionally powered car?
This week’s NFDA EV Dealer Attitude Survey implies that they are. And that raises the question; is that a good thing or a bad thing?
We know that manufacturers push different cars within their ranges to different levels depending on what the factory dictates and that, for the moment, they’re often keen to promote lower CO2 models to hit EU targets on emissions.
According to the NFDA, it will be down to the individual retailer as to how they view EV remuneration. Some may approach it from the point of view that different is bad, but for others different may be good. In this case, the survey will give a useful stick with which the retailers can hit poke their manufacturer.
What’s also interesting about the survey is that, apart from it taking place before the Government cut subsides for plug-in cars, it asked retailers ‘Are you satisfied with the current operation of the plug-in grant?’
Given the grant is operated in the same way for everyone, if all things were equal elsewhere this should have produced results that were also equal across the board. However, it didn’t. Hyundai retailers topped out with a score of 8.2 and Peugeot were last with 4.1.
What, in my mind, this shows is that perhaps this level-playingfield question should have been used to weight the rest of the questions because if Peugeot retailers are generally more unhappy than Hyundai retailers, then perhaps this had an influence on the answers to the other questions.
With the cutbacks to the plug-in grant in happening in October, the NFDA survey results this time round are somewhat redundant. Where the survey will really become interesting is when the next version is released which will be able to show the impact of the cuts.
Longer term, if and when we leave the EU, will cars sold in the UK count to European targets? And if they don’t, will manufacturers reduce retailer incentives on plug-in cars because they’d rather sell them in a different country?
It’s just one more thing to add to the ‘wait and see’ list for 2019.

Tristan Young
Editorial Director
Auto Retail Network

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