Connecticut State Senator Will Haskell shared some interesting dealership facts on Twitter this week. Senator Haskell is pro-EV, anti-carbon, and fairly neutral on how cars are sold. However, he stated that when 84% of EVs in his state are purchased directly from the manufacturer, it is clear that customers have a preference.
CT dealers sold 342 electric vehicles last year.
That means the average dealership sold 1.3 electric cars …
I’m pro-EV, anti-carbon, and agnostic about how cars are sold. But when 84% of EVs on the road were purchased outright, it seems clear that customers have a preference. https://t.co/slQfxd84Mh
– Will Haskell (@WillHaskellCT) June 16, 2021
Also, as you can see above, Haskell responded to Robert Alvine, president of Premier Auto Group in Connecticut, who had tweeted that dealers “are already selling EVs … and a lot of them.”
Senator Haskell had a solid answer for Alvine on the numbers:
“CT dealers sold 324 electric vehicles last year. That means the average dealership sold 1.3 electric cars… ”in 2020.
Alvine invited the senator to their stores and to come see how environmentally focused they are.
“Meet some of our 175 Connecticut-based employees and see their commitment to our customers, the environment, and the communities we serve.”
Alvine also said that his group donated more than $ 1,000,000 to local communities. This is a good thing, but all it does is deviate from the critical topic at hand. I think corporations and businesses need to give back from time to time to the communities they serve, so in my opinion, showing that as a reason why the bill is wrong is not the right thing to do.
Will you stop donating money to communities if the bill passes?
Bradley Hoffman of Hoffman Auto Group, which is currently suing Tesla and a city, responded to the senator and claimed that this was misleading.
“Virtually all brands will sell electricity by the end of the year and some will go 100% in the product line. Distributors have already spent millions on charging stations and solar panels because we all care about the environment. “
I’m curious where you got that information from. Are Connecticut dealers spending millions on electric vehicle charging stations and solar panels? I politely asked him to share the data that supports his claim. We’ll see if it does. If your claims are 100% true, then this is a great thing for EV adoption, which is the key goal.
However, it could be referring to new rules by legacy automakers like Cadillac, which is making investing in chargers mandatory for dealers as its brand is moving toward most electric by the end of the decade. Rory Havey, Cadillac vice president of sales, service and marketing, gave an interview to Automotive News that covered this:
“Dealers who do not believe that an investment of that size makes sense for their business could stay with Cadillac beyond November 1, but its future would be subject to discussion with brand officials.”
In December 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported that about 150 US Cadillac dealers were planning to exit the brand rather than investing ~ $ 200,000 on upgrades.
General Motors gave Cadillac dealers a choice: accept an offer to buy to get off the brand or spend about $ 200,000 on dealer upgrades, including charging stations and repair tools, to prepare their stores for the sale of electric vehicles.
Most distributors jumped on board, but many distributors did not want to spend the money and chose not to participate. Ironically, dealerships have no problem spending money lobbying legislators to remove the rights of Tesla and other automakers to sell directly to their customers. Maybe buying politicians is cheaper than spending money to upgrade your dealership to support EVs?
The article noted that the purchase would shrink Cadillac’s dealer network, which was nearly three times the size of luxury competitors such as Lexus and Audi. This does not seem to me that dealerships spend millions on charging electric vehicles and solar energy.
Dealers really don’t want to sell electric vehicles
The Connecticut EV Club shared a summary from a data set of CHEAPR reimbursements by individual dealers. This shows statistics from the start of the program to the end of last year. A key observation is that there are a small number of distributors who do great work, but sadly, great work is defined as 100 or more rebates on the the total duration of that time period. There are 6 companies that achieved that level. Hoffman is not on that list of six, close, but not there. Those six dealerships are:
- Toyota A-1 – 167
- Richard Chevrolet – 126
- Westport Honda – 126
- Carl Chevrolet – 122
- Lynch Toyota – 117
- Ingersoll Auto of Danbury – 101
The data shows how many rebates dealers received during the time period indicated above. Considering that Hoffman stated that dealers have spent millions on charging stations, I would assume this particular dealership would be in the top 6, but it is not. Below is a summary of the Hoffman Group electric vehicle rebates from the data:
- Audi Hoffman – 5
- Watertown BMW – 2
- Hoffman Ford – 38
- Hoffman Honda – 23
- Hoffman Nissan – 15
- Toyota Hoffman – 83
If dealers really wanted to sell electric vehicles, they could. They have the advertising budgets, the budget to lobby legislators, and lots of positive examples. They can easily afford to upgrade their dealerships with electric vehicle charging and make their staff better understand the technology and how to sell it. However, how motivated are they?