The silly war the U.S. National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) engaged against Tesla Motors will work against it. Dealerships need to embrace what everyone wants, freedom of choice.
NADA working against itself.
If something bothers you enough to talk about it or work against it, chances are, it is hitting a sore spot. NADA opposing Tesla from selling in New Jersey is shortsighted at best, suicidal in the long run. Obviously, the sore spot Tesla Motors is rubbing for the dealership association is that it bypasses it altogether. Why wouldn’t the association learn from Tesla and take a cue?
Let’s face it, dealerships have some of the lowest reputation ratings of all industries. No one rushes to recommend them, and certainly bleeding thousands of dollars every few other months for scheduled maintenance and the odd repair jobs, have done nothing to endear them. Worse yet, once you buy that car from a smiling salesperson, the bucket is pushed down the service and after sales department, where no accountability is ever to be found again.
Electric vehicles frighten dealerships.
If dealerships fear one thing, it’s that they are not really needed. Planned maintenance and obsolescence is where carmaker’s with repairs and after sales service is where the money is made. Electric vehicles (EV) have little to no maintenance for the first 50,000 miles or so. Toyota first series RAV4 EV drivers often talk about changing brake pads and windshield wipers the first 60,000 miles. It’s hard to make money that way.
So what can dealerships learn from EVs and Tesla’s business plan? Dealerships should concentrate on finding the best possible vehicle for your specific needs. A salesperson should be of service for those who don’t have the time to compare vehicles. They should act as a trusted, independent and third party advisor. Unfortunately, they are nowhere near that.
In the meantime, the dealership association will resort to the only it knows how to do, oppose anything that eats at its bottom lines. It’s very short sighted and the negative image problem isn’t solved this way. One thing we all want is freedom of choice of how, when and where you choose to buy services and products. If dealerships don’t wake up in time, they will soon realize they are playing Tesla’s game by not offering the service they should be in the first place.