Want to Sell More BEVs? Make App Training a Must-Do

First Up 05/31/23

Want to Sell More BEVs? Make App Training a Must-Do

Dealers who want to sell more battery-electric vehicles may want to focus on usability instead of design when they talk to shoppers about apps. J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. OEM EV App Report shows that apps are increasingly crucial to BEV owners, as the data show 66 percent use them to get charging status or range information, reports Wards. But just because BEV drivers frequently use their apps doesn’t mean they like them. “Even though EV app usage has increased over time, the app features EV owners say are most important to them are among those that have the lowest satisfaction,” says Jason Norton, senior manager of global automotive consulting at J.D. Power, “Manufacturers need to focus on improving the performance of the areas that matter most to EV owners in order to maximize their impact and elevate the user experience.” For now, though, dealers have an opportunity to make the current apps in BEVs easier to understand and use. Teaching shoppers how the apps work will likely bump up dealer satisfaction scores and increase sales until those hoped-for app improvements are released. Click here for the full story.

Europe's Consumers Lose Interest in Family Haulers, Just Like Americans Did

When Renault reimagined its Espace as a crossover after five model generations as a minivan, it was an acknowledgement that a once-iconic segment had truly run its course in Europe. Minivans have been declining in popularity among European consumers, much as they have with American shoppers. Since the early 2010s, minivans have been replaced by crossovers and SUVs, as well as small passenger vans with more and more features, reports Automotive News.  Dataforce, which tracks sales by model and segment, no longer has a minivan category, instead combining passenger van versions of light-commercial vans with the few remaining minivans on the market. Renault's Espace was the first minivan in Europe when it launched in 1984. Chrysler Corp.'s popular minivans, the Dodge Caravan, and Plymouth Voyager, launched in the U.S. nearly concurrently. The Espace featured plastic composite body panels and seven seats that could be arranged like a living room, with the front seats able to swivel, and it was just 167.3 inches long. The fact that it has been redrawn now as an SUV is a milestone for the European auto industry. Click here for the full story.

Guest Commentary: Critical Minerals and the Future of Our EV Industry

The enactment of new tax credits for electric vehicles in the IRA is a centerpiece of the Biden administration's commitment to fight climate change by revolutionizing the way we fuel our trucks and cars. These incentives of up to $7,500 per vehicle will provide a huge boost to clean-car production, making the goal of a low carbon future for the auto industry far more realistic, reports Automotive News. But in the haste to ensure such incentives will benefit domestic production, Congress created a daunting new obstacle to that very goal. The law's complex and restrictive sourcing requirements may slow domestic EV production, handing a competitive advantage to China, which already has a huge lead in EVs. While this was obviously not the intent, Biden and Congress must work together to implement the act in a way that avoids such a perverse outcome. While allies continue to fume over the IRA’s North American assembly requirement, perhaps a greater obstacle is the law's restrictive rules on the sourcing of critical minerals essential to battery manufacturing. Click here for the full commentary.

Biden Withdraws Nomination of Official to Head U.S. Auto Safety Agency

The White House said that President Joe Biden is withdrawing the nomination of the acting head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to take the top job on a permanent basis. The White House gave no reason for the move and declined to comment, reports Reuters. Ann Carlson, the agency's chief counsel, was named acting head of NHTSA in September and formally nominated for the top position in March. She has overseen safety probes into Tesla, air bag ruptures, efforts to reduce traffic deaths and to boost vehicle fuel economy requirements. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Carlson would continue to serve at NHTSA but did not address why the nomination was withdrawn. "Ann’s service has helped advance NHTSA’s mission to save lives and reduce the economic costs of roadway crashes," Buttigieg said. U.S. traffic deaths jumped 10.5 percent in 2021 to 42,915, the highest number killed on American roads in a single year since 2005 but fell 0.3 percent in 2022. Click here for the full story.

How Cake and Q-cards Help a Dealer Increase Employee Retention

Staying late at the office. Covering another employee's shift. Going the extra mile for a customer. Employees at Raymond Chevrolet and Raymond Kia, both in Antioch, Ill., are rewarded with cash bonuses for these efforts — an incentive that owner Mark Scarpelli said has improved employee retention and workplace attitude. Exemplary employee behavior is met with a "Q-card." The "Q" stands for quality. The cards, which detail how the employee excelled, are cashed for a $25 bonus, reports Automotive News. At the end of every month, employees gather for Cake Day, where they socialize, and news updates are shared. More anticipated, however, is the chance to receive an even bigger monetary reward. The names of employees who received a Q-card are placed in a bucket. The employee whose name is drawn from the bucket receives a "crisp $100 bill," Scarpelli said. "Sometimes it's really easy to focus on areas where we need to improve or things that somebody may have done wrong and actions that we need to correct," said Dina Vogt, CFO of Ray and Raymond Automotive Group. "This really makes all of the managers more cognizant of encouraging the good." Click here for the full story.


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