Environmental concerns ‘hijacking’ customer choice, says Eden chief exec

By automotive-mag.com 3 Min Read

Graeme Potts, chief executive of Eden Motor Group, offered a retailer perspective on the switch to electric at NFDA’s Driving Digital 2024 yesterday.

Potts suggested encouraging consumers to get comfortable with electric by using hybrid models as a stepping stone rather than making the full electric switch right away.

He said: “When it comes to power choice, I’m sorry to disappoint those who believe the future is fully electric.

“At the moment, and for the past 20 years since the first BEV vehicle was introduced, the majority of customers are choosing ICE engines.

“Another substantial proportion are choosing ICE complimented by a hybrid electric motor.”

Potts shared that in his business, just 7% of customers are choosing to buy a BEV. With this in mind, the industry push to switch to electric appears to be dismissive of customer choice.

Customers may be hesitant to switch to electric because of the cost of electricity, costs of replacing a battery and lack of infrastructure.

Potts continued: “We are in the shallows of a period of disturbance and challenge, I wouldn’t like to say conflict but, conflicting priorities – politics, environmental concerns, and customers’ personal choices.

“We as retailers are having to try to do a balancing act that is extremely challenging. Environmental concerns are hijacking customer choice in a lot of areas of the economy, and not least in the automotive sector.

“I contend that, for we as retailers, we need to listen more to what the customers are telling us.”

For this reason, Potts highlights that hybrid models may be the closest to reconciling all agendas.

He concluded: “Most people don’t drive cars around race tracks. Most people don’t spend their lives exploring the far boundaries of technical capability.

“What customers want is affordability in terms of operating costs, fuel costs, they want reliability, longevity of the car and they want good strong residual values.”

 

 

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