Car dealers are not happy with the direction the Biden administration has taken the auto industry. In Automotive News’ Dealer Outlook Survey for 2022, dealers voiced their complaints with the administration on everything from supply chain issues to inflation to electric vehicles — all of this in spite of record profits (probably due to all the markups people have been willing to pay for.)
The survey was done by 196 dealerships. The big takeaway from all of this: dealers really don’t seem to be on board with EVs or emission requirements. Many of the complaints voiced in the survey were in a stance against the EV transition, emission requirements, or a feeling that EVs are being forced on them. Per Auto News (emphasis mine):
A majority of respondents also said they don’t support Biden’s goal for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2030 to be zero-emission, which includes battery-electrics, plug-in hybrids and fuel cells.
One respondent said the 50 percent goal is too aggressive and, instead, expects the market will only be at 20 percent by 2030. Others said the goal isn’t feasible and to just let automakers decide what to produce and consumers decide what to buy.
I think he meant what they want to sell.
One dealer even went so far as to say that EVs are being forced onto them. But he backed that up by saying that he doesn’t think the country is ready yet as far as infrastructure is concerned.
“I can appreciate wanting to go green and do things like that but, in my opinion, they’re almost trying to force the electrification process,” Paul Tracy, owner of Auto Wholesale, a used-car dealership in Wilmington, N.C., told Automotive News.
I think the biggest problem is they’re trying to put the cart before the horse,” he said. “The infrastructure is not there, and there’s no system of how people with electric vehicles are going to help take care of the roads.
Another dealer said the “industry is being turned upside down” because everything is happening in a short period of time. This dealer, like many, is concerned about profits. They want returns on their investment in EV training and chargers. They don’t think they’ll see returns on these things right away. Its impatience.
The main thing you can take from all of this is that dealers are old school, stuck in their ways. EVs are this scary new thing they have no interest in dealing with. And with automakers asking dealers to make pricey investments in things like chargers and training, it may be years before we see dealers taking a serious interest in actually selling EVs.