Published: March 2023
As you may have seen, our Chief Executive, Jeremy, was over in Dallas for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Show 2023. We are committed to having our finger on the pulse of what’s going on elsewhere in the automotive industry so we can continue to offer the best marketing automation solutions backed by our team’s expertise and support.
Roadmap to EV Readiness – Stephanie Valdez Streaty, Director at Cox Automotive
Although the stats and research in this presentation were focused on US customers, we often see trends occur in the US before the UK, so we believe any insight is valuable and relevant.
Cox Automotive Director, Stephanie, started the session by highlighting some potential EV ‘bumps in the road’ based on news articles highlighting supply chain issues, battery costs and chip shortages. These same issues are impacting UK customers; however, with a growing charging infrastructure (in the US and the UK) and consumers’ increased interest in EV vehicles, we don’t expect these issues to deter potential customers.
Further slides showed automotive services organisation Cox Automotive’s analysis of their HIS-Markit Propulsion Forecast from June 2022, which suggests the gains in Hybrids are only temporary, as only pure EV growth is expected to continue over the next decade.
This is supported by data showing EV buyer consideration increasing from 38% in 2021 to 52% in 2022 when asked whether they would likely purchase a BEV (Battery Electric Vehicle) within the next twelve months.
An increase in EV Sales leads to further conversations on Aftersales. One of the concerns raised in the wider discussions at NADA was around the frequency of visits for an EV to a dealer service department. It was noted that currently, EVs are being seen more regularly than ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles due to recall and tech update programmes, giving valuable opportunities to engage with customers for accessories or even to look at the next generation of Electric Vehicles available.
Understanding Consumer Barriers
Our most significant takeaway from this session was when Stephanie presented the top five EV barriers among non-considerers; dealers must harness this insight to increase EV confidence.
1. Too expensive (54%)
2. Lack of charging stations in my area (46% – down from 57% in 2021)
3. Low mileage range (40%)
4. Cost of battery replacement (37%)
5. Concern about battery holding charge (36%)
Stephanie stated, “Your customer base is very well educated. You better be too. You have to know the product inside/out, including where to find charging stations, the duration of their waiting time at these stations, and apps for them to use when travelling.”
Although salespeople don’t currently have to be this informed on the local fuel stations when it comes to selling ICE vehicles, they most likely were back in the 1890s!
To help provide the best possible customer journey, it’s essential to know not only consumers’ current barriers but also what’s important to them. Cox Automotive’s research, during their ‘Path to EV Adoption Study’ shows that consumers’ top five important factors are:
1. Strong dealer knowledge and expertise of BEV specs and performance
2. Dealer knowledge of BEV cost of ownership
3. Have a variety of BEVs to choose from
4. Expertise on taking care of BEVs
5. Help arrange installation of home charging systems
How can we help?
Marketing Delivery can help you create a meaningful EV experience – whether it’s for Sales or Aftersales customers. Our marketing automation platform, VoiceBox, enables dealers to engage with customers at the right time and in the right way.
EV enquiries should receive suitable messaging with the correct terminology and information to address the concerns that we have highlighted above. Furthermore, all branding and imagery should be in line with their initial enquiry and EV-specific, not just the same suite of messages ICE customers receive.
For example, within the messaging, dealers can recommend trusted home charging system suppliers and third-party sources, such as Zap-Map, to give potential customers confidence that adequate public charging points are available near them. Dealers can also adapt their language to allay customer concerns by focusing on how drivers will use EVs as opposed to simply stating daunting technical facts such as battery range.
Aftersales customers also require distinctive automated messages based on vehicle timings, requirements, and terminology. Those new to an EV may not understand precisely what is required during a Service or MOT due to their vehicle having an electric motor instead of an engine, which means it’s the dealers’ responsibility to keep them fully informed and educated.
With longer periods between services for EVs, dealers have expressed concerns that there will be a decline in aftersales revenue. However, that doesn’t have to be the case. We have access to manufacturer recall data, which means service departments can maximise opportunities for further aftersales touchpoints, and not forgetting the crucial safety items such as tyres, wipers, lights, and brakes.
Whether recalls occur during routine services or are utilised to interact with customers between scheduled visits, additional messaging around what’s required and promoting seasonal Vehicle Health Checks, for example, will be an essential part of the aftersales communications.
With over 450 dealer clients and a total of 219 years combined in automotive, the Marketing Delivery team are on hand to help you design an EV-suitable customer journey for your new and existing customers.
For more information and a no-obligation demo of our VoiceBox platform, contact us today.