Independent dealers ‘need new skills’ says RAC Dealer Network

by | Oct 18, 2018

The RAC Dealer Network has said that independent dealers need to develop new skills as more alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs) are entering the used car market.

Sean Kent, sales director at the RAC Dealer Network, said that although AFVs still make up a small proportion of the vehicles on our roads, this will “inevitably increase”.

New registrations figures from the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders show that in the first nine months of 2018, AFVs made up 6% of the new car market. This is up from 4.6% the previous year and the trend is expected to continue given the increase in AFV models available and pressure to meet environmental targets.

“If someone walks into a showroom and wants an AFV, then the dealer must be able to talk them through the available options and the practicalities.”

Sean Kent – Sales Director, RAC Dealer Network

Kent commented: “To date, our experience is that independent dealers have tended to largely stay away from these vehicles, with the exception of a few well-established models such as the Toyota Prius”. He said this is because demand is low and dealers “hold a perception that consumers don’t understand them”.

He predicts that demand for used AFVs will grow as they become more widely accepted and visible to consumers. Dealers will need to be ready to meet this demand, ensuring that their sales staff know the capabilities of different types of AFVs and can match these to the needs of individual customers.

“If someone walks into a showroom and wants an AFV, then the dealer must be able to talk them through the available options and the practicalities.”

Customers will want to know what the pros and cons are of owning a hybrid or an electric vehicle, especially in terms of range. Crucially, they will want to know how many charging points are available to them and where.

Kent added: “We are at a point where independent dealers will soon need to have these skills simply in order to meet the requirements of the market and, in turn, ensure their own future survival and prosperity. This is not a subject that they can afford to ignore.”

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