“Car sales: How electricity changes the deal”

Published by on 09.21.2018 - 5 min

Tags : Expert view

Charging, autonomy, new driving sensations: The electric car is transforming the habits of drivers and distribution networks alike. Vincent Carré, Director of electric vehicles and new mobilities in Europe at Groupe Renault, explains.

Do you remember how Renault dealers reacted in 2012 when they saw electric vehicles arrive on their forecourts?

We must remember that we were the first in Europe to sell a 100% electric vehicle and also to offer a whole range of them! We must also understand that being a car salesman is a job that most people come to with a passion for the industry. In the beginning, electricity was a whole new world to many dealers. Our aim was therefore to help them to understand the many advantages of this new technology.

To become passionate, one must understand the product and the advantages that electric technology offers: Environmental benefits, pleasure, sporting prowess. Next, you have to master the more technical aspects of electrics: Be able to explain what fast-charging is or describe the new life habits that might be adopted when driving an electric car, etc. The electric car market is growing faster than that of the hybrid did in its infancy. We were right to believe in it!

How are you guiding this transition?

Vincent Carré
Vincent Carré, Director of electric vehicles and new mobilities in Europe at Groupe Renault

Things are done slowly, starting with some important work on understanding the product. The electric vehicle is one of the most significant changes in the history of the automobile! The commercial network in each country is fully trained every year. It is a way of remembering the basics, as we are not yet selling as many electric cars as we do combustion ones. Frequent training allows people to keep up to date with the numerous advances in this emerging market. We provide all sellers with the up-to-date tools and information needed, in their local context — country or town – about public charging and applicable financial incentives.

What is the first subject raised with the client at the dealership?

First issue: Check their “electric compatibility”. The seller must understand how the client uses their car on a daily basis and whether they have regular access to charging stations to decide whether an electric car fits their needs. We provide all the necessary information about battery life and charging. In certain scenarios, we advise that electric might be the way to go for a second car. Things go much faster when the client already has experience with electric cars: This happens in France with those who come to renew their ZOE.

In the sales process, we also encourage a test drive of the car. Clients are often pleasantly surprised by how it feels to drive an electric vehicle. Driving pleasure is something that heavily influences many people’s decision to buy.

Will we sell a ZOE in the same way as a Clio tomorrow?

The speed of adoption depends on the context of each country: Charging infrastructures and financial incentives to switch to electric powered vehicles. At the moment, the combustion engine is still the standard choice in most countries, but that will change. It will then be easier to sell a ZOE than a Clio! The change can take 3, 5 or 10 years depending on the country, but trend is widespread. In Norway, where the financial situation and regulations are favourable, 100% electric cars already represent 30% of the market.

Copyright : Olivier MARTIN-GAMBIER

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