It seems that Audi might be looking to take a page out of the Tesla Motors playbook. The German luxury brand reportedly is throwing around the idea of going with a nontraditional sales model for its upcoming electric vehicle lineup, one that could completely cut out its dealer network from the picture.
This news originally came from AutoBlog, which reported that at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show two Audi of America executives mentioned different ideas of how to sell EVs. It’s important to note that one idea was to involve “some sort of different dealership experience” that might not leave the Audi dealers out in the cold.
As one of the Audi of America executives admitted, Tesla has done an excellent job of selling electric cars. That comes from the automaker’s nontraditional approach, which doesn’t focus on moving vehicles any way possible. Instead, the Tesla stores create an experience that speaks to modern consumers, especially the kind who are interested in an EV.
Around the same time, The New York Times ran an editorial that says the big hurdle to electric car sales is dealerships. The argument is that all the way at the top of the automobile dealers in the United States, there’s been solid resistance to the idea of selling a vehicle that needs to be plugged in. Surveys have shown that a big chunk of consumers would consider purchasing such a vehicle, but dealers believe otherwise. That’s simply unheard of – a dealership telling the customer what they want!
The Audi plan, if it actually goes anywhere, could get around this huge obstacle. Admittedly, electric car sales in the United States have been a mere shadow of what they were supposed to be by now. Some can say that people don’t like the technology, but there’s compelling evidence that the problem has to do with the distribution model, or at least some Audi executives believe that to be the case.
Audi dealers probably aren’t too pleased with this revelation. Perhaps if they’re willing to get on board with changing their approach, they could keep themselves in the loop as things transition.