Along with the rest of Volkswagen AG, Audi has made plans to invest heavily into electric vehicles. The company expectsÂ EVsÂ to comprise 25 percent of its U.S. sales by 2025 and is devoting the e-tron moniker to an entire division of electrifiedÂ models, withÂ the first arriving next year.
Addressing the J.D. Power Summit at this year’s National Automobile Dealers Association Convention and Expo, Audi of America President Scott Keogh told salesmen to welcome the electric mobility market with open arms or learn to cope with anÂ ambivalent future. However, jumping head-first into a relatively small market with a huge potential for growth isn’t without pitfalls, and it isn’t unwise for dealers to remainÂ cautious. Still, with Audi planning to introduce three new BEVsÂ within the United States by 2020 and Volkswagen Group hoping to have 30 battery-electric models out by the 2025, you can see whyÂ Keogh is pressing the issue.Â
According to Wards Auto, he’s not exactly thrilled with the way dealerships have been doing businessÂ at the present, either. Many have become comfortable offering large incentives to encourage sales while recouping the loss in the servicing and parts departmentÂ â€” something that will become less lucrative when Audi goes all-electric.
â€œWe have to look at alternative channels and start to make money,â€� KeoghÂ told dealers. â€œThese cars are going to have to be fixed less. But youâ€™re going to have a host of opportunities around the battery and helping the customer in their home.
â€œThatâ€™s a very, very, profoundly dangerous game,â€� he continued. â€œBecause you end up telling the customerâ€¦[the product] has diminished value. We have to come to the point where we are selling a product that has value. Because [if] you have to have a strong brand, or frankly, you donâ€™t have anything.â€�
Keogh believesÂ the move toward electrification in the United States will become unstoppable as charging infrastructure continues to develop. Volkswagen has pledged spend $2 billion installing public charging utilities across the nation as part of its emissions cheating punishment, Tesla has been perpetually expanding its own network, and most states have green initiatives dedicatedÂ toward EV powering solutions.
The lessening of dreaded range anxiety should help ease dealership concerns over the swift normalization of electrified vehicles as the general public sees fewer downsides to EV ownership.
â€œAll this fright about where am I going to get a charge is going to go away extremely fast,â€� Keogh claimed. â€œThe technology on this front is moving at a staggering pace. Youâ€™re going to be looking at a marketplace in the next seven, eight, nine, 10 years where for 30 or 40 some brands their entire business is going to be battery-electric vehicles.â€�
â€œDo we want to jump in and compete? Without a doubt,â€� heÂ said. â€œWe have the resources, the scale, the infrastructure, the customers [and] the dealers to compete in this new order.â€�[Image: Audi]