• Regit founder sees a pause in EV investment
  • Manufacturers and dealers focused on “moving metal”
  • Dealers should revisit data to give customers a better experience

Manufacturers and dealers alike have reacted to recent industry shifts by focusing more on simply selling vehicles, according to Regit’s Chris Green.

Speaking about recent attitudes to EV adoption from the perspective of manufacturers and customers, the digital garage’s Founder and CEO was a significant contributor to Cox Automotive’s latest Insight Report. He thinks the ICE vehicle ban deadline change along with other factors, including the ZEV mandate, had caused a pronounced shift in the sector.

He said: “There’s certainly been a pause in EV investment on the part of manufacturers. The likes of GM and others went in on that a little bit heavier than most. And we’ve seen the likes of Ford reacting quite unhappily to the 2035 date change, which is understandable.

“I think a lot of dealers are breathing a sigh of relief. They are thinking ‘We’ve got a little bit more time’. Manufacturers are starting to discount new EVs and we’ve seen used EVs depreciate significantly.

“But from an OEM perspective, we’re seeing some brands, certainly Volkswagen for one, reverting to type. It’s back to 0% PCP, we didn’t see that 12-18 months ago.”

Chris added that the notable lull in the implementation of the Agency sales model and reduction in EV investment had seen a notable shift to simply “moving metal”.

Cox Automotive’s Insight Director Philip Nothard said: “The ICE ban deadline shift has seen several trends emerge which are highlighted by the consumer attitudes and behaviour recorded by Regit.

“It seems clear that manufacturers are focusing on moving metal and this will be interesting to see how it affects the supply of vehicles into the used market.”

Regit chief Chris said little has changed in the past 12 months when it comes to consumer attitudes towards buying and pricing of EVs.

“We regularly poll the two million consumers using the Regit platform. They tell us they don’t feel like they’re in such a rush to buy an EV now, there’s a little bit more breathing space. What we’ve seen is that infrastructure is still a huge subject. We’ve seen recently that the govt has missed its target of having a certain number of fast chargers around the UK. This is not helping the customer and it’s not helping adoption.

“There is sentiment in our data regarding infrastructure which shows that so many people think ‘It’s just not good enough for where I live’. I think this is accurate. Infrastructure needs to get better, there’s a lot of work to do.

“EVs are now cheaper in the used space, which will help adoption but I don’t think the same necessarily applies to new EVs.”

Chris thinks newer EV brands, such as BYD, which are very much “about the price point” will do well in the coming years.

He also thinks data has never been so important, especially for manufacturers, in terms of aiding customer retention and steering consumers towards EV adoption in greater numbers.

“Harnessing data, looking at the data that you’ve historically held. How up-to-date is that data? Can you contact customers by email? It’s time to revisit the data you have and to get customers back into the dealership, nurturing them and giving them a better experience. Identifying lapsed owners in the vehicle car parc and getting them back into the dealer network is key to retention.”

Chris stresses that in the EV space, dealerships should be more innovative, pivoting what they’re doing towards offering “more of an experience”, to become more authoritative regarding EVs.

“They have these beautiful glass palaces with all this space for people and parking. They need to ask themselves how do we engage with the local community around EV? What kind of events can we put on that are informative, content-based and educational? Nurturing those users in their local community where they’ve sold them cars historically will have a huge impact.”

Philip Nothard said: “We may be seeing a pause in EV investment and a pronounced move to simply sell more vehicles, but that may well change if we see a change in government at the next election – and any new administration decides to change the ICE deadline again.

“There’s a huge number of questions around EV infrastructure that can only be answered by those in power.”  

Listen to the latest Insight Report podcast with Philip and Chris here. Cox Automotive’s forecasts for 2024 and beyond are also published as a part of its Insight Report, which includes a deep dive into key issues facing dealers, OEMs and fleets.