When it comes to auto industry sales strategy, even for technologically advanced vehicles, dealers should always remember an adage that dates to the days of Blacksmiths shoeing horses.
“Strike while the iron is hot.”
Right now, there doesn’t seem to be a vehicle segment hotter than electric vehicles.
Customer interest is high, market share is growing, and inventories are up. Judging by the recent investment in high-priced Super Bowl ads by Ram, Jeep and Kia, automakers are clearly committed to EV growth. And, while infrastructure remains a challenge, recent announcements by Tesla and President Biden are likely to ease some customer concerns.
EV Supply, Demand, Market Share Up, Prices Slightly Down
Electric vehicle inventory increased for the fifth straight month, gaining 7.87% overall, according to ZeroSum’s February Market First report. Purely EV inventory had the biggest jump, up by 15.63%, followed by gas/electric hybrid inventory at 6.05% and plug-in hybrid inventory up 1.62%. In comparison, new vehicle inventory is up by only 0.81%, while used vehicles have dropped sharply, by 7.5%.
A second factor pointing to a positive EV climate – their overall market share continues to rise. EVs accounted for 5.8 percent of all new cars sold in the US in December, an increase from 3.1 percent the year before, according to InsideEvs.com, a website that closely tracks the EV industry.
There is also good news on the pricing front. EV prices dropped from November to December by $3,594 (down 5.5%). EVs ended 2022 0.6% lower than 2021, making EVs more attainable for a slightly wider swath of customers.
Infrastructure is Coming
One of the biggest hurdles is the lack of a vehicle charging infrastructure, which could keep some EV shoppers on the sidelines. But, even infrastructure is seeing positive movement recently. Earlier in February, Tesla announced it would open part of its proprietary charging network to other vehicles. In addition, President Biden tweeted, “In building our EV charging network, we have to ensure that as many chargers work for as many drivers as possible.”
This combination of private and public support for EV infrastructure is likely to alleviate some of the anxiety among the 49% of shoppers afraid they won’t be able to find a charging station. This could lead some on-the-fence EV intenders to finally sign on the dotted line.
Where are the EV Customers Who Are Ready to Buy?
With all these positive signs pointing in the right direction for electric vehicles, what is the key to dealership success? Matching the available vehicles to in-market shoppers pre-disposed to EV product benefits. MarketAI from ZeroSum is the best way to make this happen.
MarketAI is the industry’s first AI-Driven platform able to merge vast amounts of vehicle inventory data and cutting-edge technology to continually optimize dealer marketing. It puts the right vehicle in front of the right customer at the right time.
MarketAI is easy to use. Automated, inventory-based creative allows dealers to be up and running in less than 72 hours. Second, MarketAI uses native platform targeting to reach the right audience.
Once the creative and audience have been identified, machine learning and artificial intelligence help analyze which creative works best on what groups of customers. This yields a campaign that is optimized to match the right vehicles to potential customers who match the attributes of a typical EV buyer.
There has probably never been a better time for dealers to actively merchandise EVs, thanks to available inventory and heightened consumer demand. With MarketAI, dealers can strategically market EVs to match demand and make EVs a profitable part of their business in the coming weeks, months and years.