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Discussion Starter #1
So what am I missing about how car dealers do business? Do they actually want to sell cars? Today I walked past my very local Bristol Skoda/Seat dealership, thought I'd see if they had a Mii Electric I could look at. I've wanted to go electric for years and as there's the possibility of a government scrapage scheme soon, hanging onto my 2002 Golf Tdi could finally pay off.

Firstly, the dealership window has a reflective coating, through which I could just make out a lead and plug in the back of a small black car. Must be a Mii, I thought. I checked for any notices about COVID, in case they're only seeing people by appointment. There were a couple of signs requesting people keep a 2m distance, as you'd expect. So I put my mask on, went in and asked the guy at the desk about the Mii.

He said 'That's the only one we've got in.' a couple of times. Maybe I'm misunderstanding car dealerships, but I thought they could order cars in from the manufacturer? From him I was getting the impression that they're obliged to sell only cars that are in the showroom at that very moment.

So I asked if I could look at the car. He said go ahead. Again no notices about not touching anything, so I tried to open the driver's door. "It's locked" I was told. Not, "Sorry, I'm afraid because of current restrictions we can't let people into the cars... " or similar. So perhaps nothing to do with COVID. The car is just locked. Do people usually buy brand new cars without seeing the interior or even sitting in the drivers seat, and going "Brrrrrmmmmmm" for a couple of minutes? I've even heard tales of people taking test drives before they sign their lives away to some extortionate PCP deal - but maybe that's an urban myth.

So I squinted through the car's window, decided it looked very nice in there, thanked him, and left.

Maybe it was just one bloke having an off day. But I can't help wondering is this total disinterest in salesmanship normal in main dealers or specific to EVs? Ok I was in jeans and t-shirt but I didn't look that scruffy, and my old Golf has been so cheap to run these 8 years, I've put cash away specifically for a new car. If the government scrapage does happen, a Mii electric would be the perfect opportunity to take a diesel off the road and put an electric car on the road. And given the only option on the Mii is the colour, it would be an easy sale for them. Take down my details, take a deposit, select the colour, hit 'send' on the order to Seat.

Are dealers sulking now because electric cars are too reliable and threaten their overpriced main dealer servicing charges? Do they know their day is done?
 

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My local Nissan main dealer can't shift Leafs fast enough. So it depends on the dealership I suppose. Mind you, they are still keen to sell ICE, and advertise special open days where you won't see an EV mentioned.
 

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Kona Premium Se - 64k , 2020 model.
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I think it depends on the brand, how much supply they have and how many non EVs they have to shift. Hyundai have a great car in the Kona but sold few last year with a large backlog. Now they have announced the ability to supply anyone within 3 days. SO I guess that should make a lot of difference to Hyundai dealerships. Some manufacturers are going over to EV entirely in some countires, eg Renault in China. So there can be country specific issues as well.
 

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They can't sell you a Mi/Citigo/Up because the entire RHD production run was sold out before the demonstrators were delivered and it appears that the actual supply is very very slow anyway. The Swindon Skoda dealership let me have a test drive the day after their demonstrator arrived (just before covid-19) and it is very good. The only issue appears to be that they didn't (in March) have a working app for it which is rather limiting, and if you look on the VW/Skoda pages on this site now you get the impression that VW group are struggling to produce a reliable app.
 

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MG EZS 2020
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It does depend on the dealership. At my Renault dealer they were very helpful. When I bought my first Zoe in 2015 I had 3 salesmen helping me to buy the car. My MG dealer was also very helpful. He said they were selling EV on par with ICE.

VW have probably seen the way that dealers sell EV as they are going for online sales for the ID3 and you will only go to the dealer to pick up your car.
 

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Ion, Kona, 16 + 18 + 2020 Soul EV
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Our local Kia/Hyundai dealer are very friendly and happy to let folks have a test drive of an EV and take a deposit if your interested. If you want to know anything apart from home charging time and official range however your out of luck. Its quite comical just how little they understand about EVs. That said as their service team are clued up on service and repairs to EVs its fine if you have already done your homework.
 

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Live by the sword. Don't intend to die by it.
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I think we have to make some allowance for the CoViD. I wandered into a Nissan dealership a few weeks ago to nosey at the Leaf. I just happened to be passing as I had some time to kill whilst my car's windscreen was being replaced. I got a similar story - they would have to disinfect the car, but I could make an appointment if I wanted to drive one.

If you called and asked, I'm sure they'd let you drive one.

As for dealers and EVs being incompatible. I don't think so. EVs are undoubtedly lower maintenance, but they still need fluids, tyres, and safety inspections. The service industry won't die. If anything, I'd say dealers could do well by doing more, cheaper services. If anything, it'll be backstreet garages who go out of business when they lack specialist knowledge and the price difference is lower. Most car repairs are for components that also exist on EVs.
 

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iPace HSE / 2019
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4 years ago I bought an Evoque from Marshalls in Cambridge. The experience was terrible. Never again, I said.

9 months ago I decided to buy an iPace. Nearest delaer by miles, Marshalls in Cambridge. Appointment booked online. 10 minutes later, salesman phones me up to talk to me about what I know, what I want, very interested, knowledgeable. Ok... test drive day. Warm welcome. Sales guy (Harry) was brilliant, very enthusiastic about EVs, knew the answer to every Q I had. 2 hour test drive. ... Order placed. Handover ... Overall it was a great experience. Thanks to one young man that knew his stuff, could engage with a potential customer, and win them (me) round.

Not all bad then.

PS Pre Covid. Post-Evoque.
and... the Audi dealer was shite.
 
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