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NFDA highlights EV adoption bonus amid ULEV Government grant fears

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association

The NFDA’s latest Consumer Attitude Survey has revealed that cost remains the biggest barrier to EV ownership amid concerns that the Government is preparing to announce cuts to the ULEV grant.

A total of 49% of the 1,000 respondents to the National Franchised Dealers Association’s Autumn 2018 survey said that reducing the cost of AFVs – including a plug-in hybrid option – would be the main factor in encouraging them to adopt a more eco-friendly form of transport.

Cheaper running costs was the second biggest selling point, attracting 11% of responses.

But while the NFDA survey highlighted cost as a factor in EV adoption, documents seen by the Observer newspaper suggest that the price of some electric and hybrid cars could be set to soar as the Government plans to reduce the existing ULEV grants.

The Observer was told that that the larger grant for electric cars will be reduced from £4,500 to £3,500 from next month, while £2,500 grant offered for plug-in hybrid cars which emit less than 50g/km and can cover at least 10 miles in EV mode will be removed altogether.

The SMMT has already called for the plug-in grants to be maintained beyond 2020 in a bid to meet the Government’s Road to Zero plan which will see new none-AFV cars removed from sale in 2040.

Chief executive, Mike Hawes, said: “Evidence shows that prematurely removing upfront purchase incentives before the market is mature can have a devastating impact on demand.”

According to the NFDA’s Consumer Attitude Survey once again spelled out the market share advantage that could be gained by franchised retailers in the aftersales sector with a more concerted shift towards AFVs

A total of 59% of respondents who had used a franchised retailers for aftersales provision during the past two years said that they would trust it to service an EV, compared to just 10% for an independent garage.

The latest results of the survey showed that 64% of consumers believe franchised dealerships are the safest option to get a car serviced. The main reasons franchised dealers are considered the safest are: their specialist expertise (61%) and having technical equipment for specific types of cars (47%).

Additionally, one in two consumers associate franchised dealers with professionalism (55%), knowledge (48%) and good customer service (47%). This represents a strong result considering that respondents are asked to select as many options as they want amongst a list of several choices.

Of those who regularly use franchised dealers for aftersales service, 93% were satisfied with their overall experience.

NFDA director, Sue Robinson, said: “It is encouraging to see that the vast majority of consumers continue to see franchised dealers as the safest option in the aftersales sector.

“The results of the survey have confirmed a number of optimistic trends. In addition to being seen as the safest, franchised dealers are the most trusted option to service hybrid and electric cars which, considering the changes facing the industry over the next years, is highly encouraging.

“It is positive to see that when consumers use a franchised dealership for aftersales their perceptions improve significantly across all areas, demonstrating the high-quality service franchised dealers offer.

“Going forward, we expect franchised dealers to continue to strengthen their position in aftersales while they keep improving their services to provide motorists with the best possible experience”.

The NFDA Consumer Attitude Survey Autumn 2018 is the sixth issue of the survey which is commissioned by the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and executed by Public Knowledge*, an independent market research agency, to explore consumer perceptions of franchised dealers, independent garages and high-street national chains in aftersales.

Of the 1,000 respondent who regularly use franchised dealers for aftersales, the 15-minute online survey process revealed that 75% have a manufacturer warranty and 45% have a service plan in place.

Furthermore, it showed that 69% had bought their car brand new, while 80% drive a car with 30,000 miles or less miles on the clock.

Among the survey sample, the majority of loyal franchised dealer users (57%) were found to be aged 55 or older, while 18% are aged between 18 and 34, and 25% are aged between 35 and 54.

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