PHOTO CAPTION: Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid

EVs Lack Effective Sales Strategy

For reasons of either incompetence or economic pragmatism, carmakers are doing a poor job of marketing their electric-drive models, finds a new study out of Europe.

Published: 02-Oct-2015

A new study by Roland Berger, in collaboration with Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen Aachen, identifies the key reason why, apart from Sweden and Netherlands, sales of electric-drive vehicles remains 1% of total car sales globally: ineffective marketing. States "E-Mobility Index Q3 2015"...

"The lack of coherent sales concepts is partly responsible for the weak sales figures. OEMs are not doing enough to win customers over to BEVs and PHEVs. Strategies are lacking for creating lasting incentives for dealers to sell low-emission vehicles."

The reason is for this is because OEM's can't pass on much of the higher costs of electric vehicles to buyers. To deal with this situation, "most OEMs have responded with a highly modularized xEV architecture that will enable them to offer a BEV or PHEV variant in all vehicle classes in the medium term." Ford's Focus and Fusion sedan platforms are a good example of this; they are offered in conventional ICE-age models, plug-ins and, in the case of the Fusion, fully-electric.

Notes the study, those same carmakers "lack coherent sales concepts for achieving the required powertrain mix in their sales... (EVs) hardly figure in advertising or rental business. Moreover, dealers currently have little incentive to actively sell customers PHEVs or BEVs rather than higher-margin models and optional equipment."

The study offers recommendations, one of them being an incentive system based on CO2 credits.

"To create long-term planning security, individual OEMs could potentially introduce a sort of CO2 credits system in which dealers would build up tradable credits at the beginning of each year (and from one year to the next). A model of this type would restrict dealers' autonomy much less and also greatly reduce the amount of time and effort OEMs spend trying to manage dealers"

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