Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Can auto dealers compete with direct-to-consumer EV sales?

To the Editor:

It’s been a common theme for a while now that small dealerships won’t be able to survive as the big dealer groups keep growing, but I’m not sure I agree. Robert Loehr has the right idea to stay competitive in a challenging market, in my opinion. When the going got tough with COVID, he made the tough decision to pare down on the budget and focus where the customers are coming from: online. It doesn’t seem like a dealer group can’t pivot as quickly as Robert has.

I’m curious to see if his vision for the EV market will be right, though. With direct-to-consumer models like Tesla and Rivian, and even Volvo committing to sell EVs direct to the customer, can dealers really compete? If Amazon is any indication, customers who are looking primarily for value might tend to buy direct from the online source if the price is right, cutting out the dealer altogether. In my perspective, that could do serious damage to efforts in customer loyalty. 

Seth L.

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