Companies around the world continue to make moves toward a more sustainable future. Amazon is dedicating billions to becoming carbon neutral. The federal vehicle fleet looks to be all-electric in just a few years. Most importantly for your business, OEMs across the spectrum have redoubled their efforts toward electric vehicles. Some carmakers are even halting the production of gas-powered cars altogether.
Now is the time for your business to make investments in sustainable equipment, inventory, messaging, and more. The worldwide push toward a greener future will only pick up steam, meaning any steps you take now won’t just pay off in the short term. You’re likely to see real returns as the environment continues to change.
Consumers Have Changed
COVID-19 forced changes in consumer sentiment, as it has everywhere. People began looking for safer ways to travel, and if that meant avoiding public transit in favor of a car, that was the choice some made.
Showcase what both your business and your OEM are doing to seek a sustainable future. Discuss where things are going: show customers the investment being made, share your own plans, and explain the benefits they and theirs will see for choosing to pick up an electric or hybrid vehicle from you.
More Americans are putting stock in EVs than ever before. They’re not just talking, either: they’re buying. Year over year, every year, more people purchase electric cars, and every year there are more incentives to do so.
Why Sustainability Matters to Your Business
The simplest reason to put sustainability at the center of your business planning is in the numbers. Between 2015 and 2019, the electric vehicle market grew by a massive 400%.
Almost three-quarters of 2019’s sales were battery-powered — no engine to speak of. The remainder were hybrids.
There are also cost savings to consider. Gas prices have hovered below $3 per gallon for some time, but the planet’s oil supplies can only hold out for so long. Any additional instability in high-volume oil-producing countries or delivery infrastructure can drive prices back into uncomfortable territory. Alternative methods of harvesting oil for energy — fracking, for instance — are expensive and come with an undue cost to the climate.
Transitioning to electric looks to save households $1,000 every year by 2050, which comes out to $2.7 trillion total savings, according to Morning Consult. They note such a move could save up to 150,000 lives from pollution-related deaths and save an additional $1.3 trillion in health costs thanks to cleaner air and other benefits.
Boston Consulting Group projects a massive consumer shift toward electric vehicles by 2030. By that same year, an increased supply of EVs will push widespread adoption further. Even if most cars on the road at the start of the next decade still use engines, EVs will be ubiquitous enough to make a huge shift in the driving population.
How to Make Sustainability Work for You
You can take advantage of the industry’s move toward sustainability without making substantial financial investments upfront. You can make changes both on your lot and in your service drive, but there are also plenty of ways to pull customer goodwill and potential sales by focusing on market and consumer trends.
One of the most important steps you can take now is to appeal to younger generations whenever they come to your dealership. Both Millennials and Gen Z are poised to continue disrupting the industry. According to a PWC report, their values align more closely with green solutions. At least some of them look to alternative modes of transportation beyond owning a car.
There are also more practical reasons to push the sale of EVs and hybrid cars: cost savings at the pump. A battery-powered vehicle needs no gas to run, and modern hybrids can push surprising miles per gallon while city driving. Show off the numbers if a customer seems uncertain, especially regarding the mild price increase inherent in an electric vehicle. You can drill down how that increase in upfront cost melts away thanks to savings on gas.
Electric cars provide another practical benefit: they take less to maintain. A study from OC&C notes that EVs need up to 40% less for service and routine maintenance. Fewer moving parts under the hood, fewer opportunities for a problem. Show off the savings at the pump and in repairs if your customers need a more tangible reason to make the jump to electric.
Additional Steps Toward a Greener Future
The US and the world will need to invest in millions of charging stations in the city and suburban and rural areas to accommodate the increasing demand for electric and hybrid vehicles. The current administration has plans for 500,000 new stations across the country, which is a good start.
Let your customers know what your plans are for electrifying your dealership. Explain how many stations, if any, you intend to add in the coming years. Talk too about how you expect your EV and hybrid stock to expands. Even if you don’t make the sale immediately, letting consumers know what they can expect when making their next purchase can build positive sentiment.
Don’t be afraid to show off what your OEM is doing, even if their plans are only in the concept phase. When are they going carbon-neutral? When will they stop making gas-powered cars? If they aren’t, what else are they doing to meet emissions standards? A simple fact sheet for customers to read or clip on the show floor TV could spark a conversation about what’s coming down the pipe.
There’s also room to talk about vehicle features not immediately related to electric power. Take the time to show off the features customers expect and apps offered by your OEM to control and monitor their vehicle status. Up to 74% of consumers make some use of an app for their car, whether that’s simply to keep track of how much energy they’re using or controlling more advanced features.
By leaning into the connection between a driver and their vehicle, you’ll open up opportunities for future offers through the app itself. That might mean advertising new tires, pushing for subscription-based fueling, leveraging usage-based insurance, and more. 60% of users are okay sharing at least some of their data with an OEM. That means you can learn a lot about your customers’ habits and then lean into that knowledge to drive sales long into the future.
If nothing else, in a post-pandemic world, many of our largest cities felt their air quality increase and what it’s like to be cooped up for long periods without any social contact to speak of. EVs help maintain that clean feeling and alleviate cabin fever. Especially as businesses continue to open up, kids go back to school, and so forth, having an environmentally friendly car provides the freedom to go where you please and do what you want. After more than a year of confinement, there’s likely nothing better.
As your business continues to serve customers throughout your community, ReVo MG will be right there with you, helping you sell more cars, more often, whether they’re electric or not. Contact us today to learn more about our specialized process.