Toyota Dealers Would Rather Sell Hybrids Than EVs

Electric cars are having a hard time reaching massive acceptance among the car-buying public, and it isn’t just consumers who are concerned. A new study shows that Toyota’s own dealers prefer selling hybrid models like the Prius to pure electric vehicles. Just one more roadblock to EV acceptance.

The study, done by AutoRetailNet, highlights one of the main issues in EV adoption; lining up buyers and sellers. Many car dealers hardly know their own vehicles, and electric vehicles really seem to throw them for a loop. Most dealerships involved in the study would rather continue selling popular hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. Perhaps Toyota was right to kill its all-electric Scion iQ?

It certainly looks that way, as the study finds that 85% of dealerships agree with Toyota’s decision to shelf sales of the Scion iQ EV. Only 5% of dealers believe that EVs will be their best-selling models in the next five years, though 61% of the dealers believe an all-electric car will show up on their lots some time in the future.

That said, if the dealers aren’t behind a product, how can they be expected to sell it to customers? Many Nissan dealerships appeared woefully unprepared for the rollout of the all-electric Leaf, as were many Chevy dealerships in regards to the Volt plug-in hybrid. If you have a salesperson trying to get you to buy a $30,000+ vehicle that they don’t seem to have any knowledge or passion about…it could be hard to make a sale. With Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle, the Rav4 EV, costing around $50,000, sales will be even more difficult.

The dealers did offer some interesting insights though, as 70% of them thought hybrids would continue to dominate sales. Just 10% believed plug-in hybrids would become major sellers in the next five years, but 15% of those surveyed put faith in fuel-cell vehicles.

Toyota has a fuel-cell vehicle due out in 2015, and it should sell in the $50,000 range. Will Toyota dealers prove more accepting of hydrogen fuel cells than they are of electric vehicles? Time will tell…for now though, EVs seem to be getting shuffled to the back of the bus.

Source: Plug-In Cars


Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.