By Desiree Homer
The EV Market Surges Forward with Growth Plans
While dealerships everywhere are wrangling inventory imbalances, pandemic conditions, and social protesting, the furthest thing from the minds of dealer owners may be the electric vehicle movement. But the EV market isn’t standing still. In fact, it’s surging forward despite the uncertainty of the current industry shifts. Lucid Motors announced last week it would be moving forward with plans to open 20 retail stores and service locations by the end of next year. It’s a reminder that conventional franchise dealers still have to be mindful of competition coming to town and the EV technology that’s just around the corner.
The Lucid Motors Announcement
The electric vehicle startup company, headquartered in Newark, California, announced last week it would move forward with its plans for growth and facility opening. Right now, Lucid Motors only has one store in its home state and has yet to start production. However, six more retail locations and one service facility are on the schedule for opening this year, according to the company spokesperson. These stores will all be home to a service center or a mobile service team. Locations include New York, Florida, California, and Washington, D.C. The Lucid Motor stores are called Lucid Studios and will offer more upscale customer experience. Much like the Tesla model, Lucid Motors will be selling directly to customers and also feature a touchless buying and delivery model in tandem with its physical showrooms. It’s a marriage of EV technology and virtual options that position Lucid Motors at the head of the pack.
Ready or Not, Here They Come
This latest announcement from Lucid Motors serves as a reminder of what dealers were talking about before the Coronavirus consumed the conversation. Electric vehicle technology was gaining ground, with companies like Tesla leading the way. In certain parts of the country, dealers were more frustrated about the direct-to-consumer business model, that would disrupt the traditional franchise dealer methods. With the arrival of COVID-19, nearly all of those concerns hit pause as dealers quickly pivoted to survival mode. But now, with the showrooms opening and car buyers making their way back to the market, the EV companies are coming too. And they’re just as eager to get back on schedule. It’s competition worth considering and preparing for in some markets. The EVs are coming, whether dealers are ready or not.
Start with Automation
“Are we just waiting for Jeff Bezos to come in and take over online auto retail?” Steve Zabawa, the Co-Founder of Rimrock Auto Group, along with the oldest digital retailing company, WebBuy, asks a great question. Zabawa joins the conversation in a recent Dealer News Today podcast episode to discuss the automated car buying process shift. As dealers face EV automakers chomping up their share of the car buyers, getting automated for a 100% virtual process may be the key to keeping up with the EV Jones’. You may not be in a position to challenge the likes of Tesla or the direct-to-customer business model of Lucid Motors. Still, you certainly can rework your platforms to truly automate your customer engagement processes.
Lucid Motors is gearing up for expansion and may be coming to a market near you. For now, you might not be able to do much about the EV movement. But you can be preparing for the virtual buying environment that may be with us to stay, permanently. It can be the competitive edge you have to ensure you’re positioned for success, beyond the chaos of the moment.