Monday, June 21, 2021
News Greenpeace Says Volkswagen Selling EVs "With the Handbrake On"

Greenpeace Says Volkswagen Selling EVs “With the Handbrake On”

Survey suggests dealers not versed on EVs

  • Just eight of 50 VW dealers recommended an ID.3

  • And only one to buyers not already looking for the electric

A study from Germany suggests that it may be dealers to blame for the slow embrace of electric vehicles by consumers. The test that Greenpeace carried out at dealerships in the country suggested that just one in 25 recommended an ID.3 buyers the group said were ideally suited to the Volkswagen electric.

The German branch of the environmental advocacy group called the start of Volkswagen ID.3 sales “comparatively weak,” pointing out that large incentives in Germany, as well as the 54,000 pre-orders for the car in Europe, meant that the 4,349 ID.3 models it says were registered to customers in the country in 2020 was lower than expected. The 2,439 registered in Germany in November were lower than the older Renault Zoe and Hyundai Kona Electric.

So Greenpeace sent customers to 50 dealers in 38 German cities in November, with half of those buyers saying they weren’t sure if they wanted the new Golf or an ID.3 and the other half not asking for a specific model. The mystery shoppers asked five questions about electric mobility and asked the salespersons to name the advantages of electric cars.

Their driver profile was 30,000 km per year with 200 km daily distances and a once or twice a year excursion of 1,000 km in Europe. Their budget was 35,000 euros and they had up to five passengers. According to Greenpeace, that matches up with a 58 kWh or a 77 kWh ID.3 per the information and sales language on Volkswagen’s website.

For the 25 customers asking simply for a new car recommendation, 17 VW dealers recommended a combustion powered car and just one an ID.3. One recommended a different EV and one didn’t give a recommendation at all.

Shoppers who asked between the Golf and ID.3 saw 10 recommended toward the Golf in gas, diesel or PHEV, 7 to the ID.3, and 8 getting no recommendation to either.

The report said that sales staff clearly advised against an ID.3 in many of these interactions, including stating it’s not for distances over 15,000 km per year, another saying that you needed to have a lot of confidence to buy an EV and lastly one talking about child labour involved in raw material extraction.

The group calls for VW to push dealers and sales staff to be better prepared to sell EVs, including to better educate them about questions EV buyers may have and the environmental benefits of the cars.


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