Ford trains dealerships to handle hybrids in order to increase sales

How Carmakers Can Train Dealerships To Sell More Electric Vehicles

The relationship between dealerships and electric vehicles is not easy. Certain carmakers are training and certifying dealerships to increase sales.

You may have noticed that dealerships and electric vehicles have an uneasy relationship. Dealerships are traditionally anchored in a tried and true business model that forces their clientele to come back for frequent internal combustion engine maintenance. These dealerships view the electric vehicle phenomena as a hindrance to its financial bottom line. Certain carmaker are challenging dealerships with training designed to ease the introduction of electric vehicles through certifications and increase sales.

Ford Dealership Training. Ford has a very active dealership training programed aimed at enabling them to handle electric vehicle (EV), hybrids and plug-hybrids (PHEV). The results have been impressive judging Ford's impressive growth market share with hybrid vehicles last year. So far Ford has seen a rise from a modest less than 3 percent in April 2012 to nearly 16 percent by December. The huge boost shows the company is doing something right. So what can it do to grow its hybrid market share? Here is a little more from the carmaker explaining how it will continue to grow.

Ford Hybrids. Ford has made a lot of effort to offer more hybrids. With more electric vehicle coming into the market, that also means dealerships need to be trained, educated and most of all, certified to handle electric vehicle components. Ford is now certifying more than 900 dealers to sell plug-in electrified vehicles by spring.

Training To Handle Electric Cars. One obstacle EV backers didn’t fully consider back then was the lack of enthusiasm dealerships showed with EVs in general. This certainly hasn’t helped sales number when dealers prefer to push gasoline engines that require perpetual and lucrative maintenance repairs compared to an electric car’s relatively low maintenance. Simply put, electric cars have less moving parts, less to go wrong, which translates into less maintenance. This is not something dealerships have been eyeing in a negative way.

Ford has managed to show dealerships that embracing electric vehicle is crucial. The industry as a whole is heading in the general direction of electrifying cars and dealerships will have to familiarize themselves. This also opens a new financial revenue for dealerships by turning them into savvy EV information centers. Let’s face it, car dealers are not at the top of the trust pole in the eyes of consumers. Training them to handle EV, as well as answering related questions helps their tarnished image and turns them into valuable information centers.

As the automotive industry struggles to regain ground, training dealership to offer extra services and become electric vehicle information centers will help improve their tarnished image in the eyes of the consumer.

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Fantastic article and so right on. I applaud Ford for making my Ford Ranger EV and for making the new Ford Focus Electric. However I am absolutely done with traditional car dealers, and this is just one of the many reasons why I have a Tesla model S on order. Tesla has no conflict with having to sell gas cars, hybrids and electrics.
Unfortunately, you are not the only one. In a survey I saw years ago, they were at the bottom with Real Estate agents. It's too bad because they can play a crucial role with the deployment of EVs. Hopefully as more companies like Ford educates them, they will see electric vehicles as in integral part of their business model.
Fantastic article and so right on. I applaud Ford for making my Ford Ranger EV and for making the new Ford Focus Electric. However I am absolutely done with traditional car dealers, and this is just one of the many reasons why I have a Tesla model S on order. Tesla has no conflict with having to sell gas cars, hybrids and electrics.
You're missing the one key element that explains both dealers' and manufacturers' historical reluctance to build and sell electric vehicles: profitability. On the manufacturers' side, it's an incredibly poor business decision to offer a vehicle the market won't support. Enter the taxpayer to offer subsidies, and it begins to make sense financially. Whether you agree or disagree with that politically, it cannot be ignored, because for EVs to succeed in the mainstream for the long term, they must be able to compete with internal combustion (IC) engines head-to-head. $16+ trillion deficits will not allow $5000-$7500 credits on an unlimited number of EV sales. That said, I applaud Ford's (and others') decision to offer an EV lineup and attempt to support the effort with charging infrastructure. As for dealerships, there are really three factors that determine whether they will promote and sell vehicles: profit opportunity, reliability and availability. You mistakenly assume that a dealership sales department thinks about future profit when they sell a vehicle, i.e., "If we can't make money on long-term maintenance, I'm not going to sell these cars." While dealership owners may allow that thinking to drive vehicle orders from the factory, individual sales consultants, certified or not, are generally paid to be driven by profit potential. If they can't make a reasonable amount of money on the sale of any vehicle, electrified or not, they're going to make every effort to steer customers away from that vehicle. Is that dishonest or improper? Well, I'll leave that opinion to you and your other commenters, but believe me, if you pay them, they will sell whatever you want them to. And so would you. In utopia, EVs and hybrids would completely replace IC vehicles, but I predict it's not going to happen in our lifetimes - not because it's not a good idea to switch, but because the market needs to support such a change. And, be careful what you wish for: as soon as EVs truly become viable on their own, watch what happens to gas prices. When it's trade-in time, if you're choosing between an IC powered vehicle and an EV costing $10,000 more - and gas is under $1 a gallon - I think you know which way most people will go. Thanks for the article.
JQ, You seem to get different information than the rest of us. You say= vehicle the market won't support. Enter the taxpayer to offer subsidies. END of QUOTE . Yet we subsidies OIL and have for over 50 years! So gas cars are not viable yet you say EV's are not viable. You say gas will go to $1 a gallon, yet in the real world China is almost sucking as much as the USA and will surpass us soon along with India. OIL and gas will never drop below $3-4 in the future,ever. The USA imports 40% of the oil you burn each day in a gas car that is only 15% efficient! It makes deadly carbon monoxide and world killing carbon dioxide along with many other pollutions. It takes 1 gallon of gas and makes 20 lbs of pollution. I hereby sentence you to ride a bicycle for the rest of your life to make up for your errors in judgement.
Hi jstack6, yes the petroleum/gasoline retorts are always puzzling when you hear the "$1 a gallon" theory. We've been hearing this for decades, yet this past weekend, we jumped another 50 cents in the greater Los Angeles area. What you rightfully point to are the ill-effects of petroleum and gasoline, the health consequences and loss of local revenue. Paul Scott sent me an interesting survey back in October that showed for every dollar not spent on gasoline pumps, $16 goes into local businesses. Unfortunately, the petroleum lobby has grown and its feeding frenzy seems to show no end even in front of an illogical consequence. While petroleum has helped the industrial revolution, it's now time to think ahead. What's wrong with choice? EVs are just that, yet another choice in a country that prides itself on freedom of choice.