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Study: Dealerships Need To Be More Informed About Electric Cars

Motivated EV shoppers can show up at a dealership ready to buy a plug-in car, but the deal won’t be closed unless the sales staff is there to help.

Between December 2013 and March 2014, Consumer Reports sent 19 “secret” shoppers to buy a plug-in vehicle at 85 different dealerships in four states. They discovered that many auto salespeople lacked knowledge and/or interest in selling an electric car. CR gives this advice to plug-in car shoppers: “Do your homework and don’t rely on the dealership for education about this intriguing technology.” The visit to the dealership should only provide hands-on validation for buying decisions already made by shoppers.

Examples of buyers being misled:

A salesperson at Culver City Toyota in California said the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid required a battery replacement “every couple of years.”
A sales manager at Manhattan Ford in New York City denied there was a Ford Focus Electric, and then said it couldn’t be leased.
A salesperson at Star Toyota Scion of Bayside, N.Y., would not show a Plug-in Prius that was in stock.



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