EV market reaching tipping point, VRA AGM hears

A tipping point is close to being reached where there will be widespread dealer and buyer acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs), members of the Vehicle Remarketing Association (VRA) were told at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) this week.

Dale Wyatt, director of automobile at Suzuki GB, who presented on issues currently facing motor manufacturers, said that getting to that place would require a concerted effort on the part of the remarketing sector as well as a range of customer incentives.

“It looks as though used ICE and EV cars will start to reach some kind of price parity over the next year and I expect that trend to equally apply to new cars as we edge towards 2024. Price parity will be a key moment as there is still going to be customer resistance to EVs and there will need to be incentives to overcome that.

“Those incentives could take several forms which will depend on where cash is available and what motivates buyers, but it does feel now as though a tipping point is not far away where EVs will just become an everyday part of the car market.”

Peter Smyth, director at Swansway Motor Group, provided a dealer perspective on current issues. He backed the idea of incentives but said that simply getting better at selling EVs would be crucial.

“It’s not something that is much discussed but what the retail motor industry is really good at, is selling. We have great sales skills and using them will be crucial to making EVs a success, with salespeople in dealerships making the right deal, matching the right customer to the right electric car and the right finance product.

“Of course, there will probably need to be incentives and ‘cash on the bonnet’ in the form of manufacturers’ subsidies will also form part of this story.”

A panel discussion on mental health and wellbeing in the remarketing sector featured Rachel Clift, health and wellbeing director at motor industry benevolent charity BEN; Stephen Whitton, founder of [M]enable, which is the VRA’s mental health partner organisation; and Danielle Grant, training officer at Compass, which provides wellbeing consultancy and training solutions.

The AGM, hosted by British Car Auctions in Perry Barr, Birmingham was attended by 50 delegates in person and more online, making it the organisation’s largest ever event of its kind.

Philip Nothard, chair at the VRA, said: “As every year, we work to make the AGM something of a showcase for the quality of insight that exists within the VRA and we were pleased to see such an excellent turnout and such vibrant discussion.

“Our membership has risen by around 25% in the last year and there is a real sense of momentum around the organisation. We’re now planning our annual VRA Seminar in November, which promises to be a fascinating day.”

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