Most Dealers Don't Have Any EVs, Almost Half Refuse to Sell Them
Written by Steven Loveday, InsideEVs
Published May 11, 2023
A new Sierra Club report found 66% of car dealers in the U.S. simply don't have any electric vehicles (EVs) to sell, and 45% of dealers said they're unwilling to sell them regardless.
For more people to buy EVs, manufacturers need to make them widely available, which is starting to happen. However, it seems it's still not an easy task to get an electric car at many U.S. dealerships.
Sierra Club's latest report is "Rev Up Electric Vehicles: A Nationwide Study of the Electric Vehicle Shopping Experience.” Sierra Club is an environmental organization that advocates for EVs, so its agenda could have an impact on the information it shares. However, the data in this report was gathered from more than 800 surveys of automotive dealers in all 50 states, so it's safe to say these dealer opinions are definitely out there.
The report did find one positive statistic based on the survey responses. Among the 66% of U.S. auto dealerships that claimed they don't have any EVs to sell, 44% of them said they want to sell them if they can get access. If people are visiting these dealerships ready to buy an EV, and the dealer can't get them one, it's a loss for the business and perhaps the loss of a customer.
Dealers who say they can't get EVs blame supply chain issues, a lack of enough inventory and the way in which the EV manufacturers choose to allocate the cars. InsideEVs recently visited a Michigan Hyundai dealer and was told states on the West Coast were getting the bulk of the hybrid and electric inventory, and it wouldn't be coming to that state in large numbers any time soon.
In order to get access to EVs, dealerships often need to commit to investing in charging stations and training for service and sales staff. It can be a big financial commitment to invest in something you may not get access to for years to come, depending on the situation.
Sierra Club also reported there are still 27 states that don't permit direct sales, making it illegal for companies like Tesla and Rivian to sell their EVs in the state. Interestingly, the study also showed 65% of the EVs sold in the U.S. were sold in states that allow direct sales.
Finally, the report broke down the data by automotive brand. Sierra Club reached out to 18 different automaker ownership groups. It found Mercedes-Benz was the brand with EVs most readily available. An impressive 90% of Mercedes dealers had an EV on hand and for sale. Meanwhile, only 15% of Toyota dealers and 11% of Honda dealers had an EV to sell.