In the pursuit of a greener, lower emission future the motor trade has entered its first phase of the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate. A government-born initiative that has defined a road map to achieve a goal of 100% zero-emission car sales by 2035. With so much change required from a manufacturing and logistics point of view, a steady, measured phase-out of the internal combustion engine (ICE) is designed to give an appropriate amount of time for manufacturers to make the necessary adjustments to their operations.
Some would argue it also provides the time to win the hearts and minds of the general population which is something that continues to be a significant challenge to both manufacturer and their dealer partners. I liken it to a double-edged sword, manufacturers are being forced to shift production to a product that, at this moment in time, the majority of people don’t want or don’t feel ready for.
The initial phase we entered on 1st January 2024, requires 22% of all cars registered to be a zero-emission vehicle. Given that the market share in 2023 finished at 16.5%, an additional 5.5% climb doesn’t sound insurmountable. However, since the government amended the 100% ZEV mandate deadline from 2030 to 2035 the number of people claiming they’ll never buy an EV has doubled.
The key for dealers is to achieve the 22% organically as many (with good reason) want to avoid pre-registering electric vehicles. In recent years ‘pre-reg’, regardless of the drivetrain was considered a thing of the past. Now it is actively discouraged by many dealers who consider them to be a ‘noose round your neck’, which is ultimately detrimental to achieving new car targets. With EV residuals softening this last year I’d even go so far as to suggest pre-registering an EV would be financial suicide. Perhaps a grim view but no doubt one shared by many dealers.
So, what’s the answer?
In this humble ‘recently retired’ Sales Managers opinion, the key lies in your sales teams. In my last blog I touched on how the majority of electric vehicle training falls short of the mark. The belief is that training salespeople and advertising EVs in the same way as with ICE vehicles will drive customer enquiries. The reality is that around 80% of the population do not consider themselves an EV driver. The Myriad of ‘fake news’ and anti-EV publications are convincing enough for the average person to switch off from EVs completely. Rendering them ‘immune’ to traditional marketing advances.
At this stage of EV adoption, which many consider to be ‘the chasm’ between ‘early adopters’ and ‘early majority’, the secret to success is converting the everyday customers. Customers who are already visiting your showroom, by way of specific EV qualification and education. Introducing the idea of an EV early in the sales process and providing accurate, relevant, and logical data as to the reasons why considering EV could be beneficial to an individual will, without doubt, drive EV mix. To deliver this your sales teams need to be highly educated and confident on all things EV. Not just the product or technology, but the ownership experience and the reality of living with an EV. That’s where we can help.
Speak to us today if you’d like to know more.