Ontario-based DealerAI launched an AI chatbot that aims to achieve automation with customer service and provide timely, accurate, and consistent answers to consumers
Canadian auto dealer talked with Baris Akyurek, the Director of Marketing Intelligence at AutoTrader, which released first quarter 2022 research in April, which suggests consumer searches for electric vehicles are surging primarily due to soaring gas prices. This is not surprising, though interest in EVs is not constant across the country, suggests the survey of 1,000 prospective buyers.
AutoTrader research suggests gas prices and government incentives combine to drive consumer interest in electric vehicles, but where incentives are lower, there is a corresponding drop in interest. BC and Quebec lead the way in consumer online searches for electric vehicles, due to higher incentives, but for Canadians in general, 68 per cent are considering an electric vehicle for their next car, which is up five percent from last year. Two thirds of respondents cite rising fuel prices as the reason behind looking at EVs.
Xu said they can also help dealers make more deals with higher grosses, which the company is able to achieve by automating the customer experience with timely, accurate, and consistent answers in the customer’s language.
“When we look at our data, we see searches for electric vehicles specifically are up 89 per cent from last year, with a 560 per cent increase in leads to dealers,” says Akyurek, “so there’s been huge interest since gas prices have gone up.” With over 300,000 vehicles on the AutoTrader site, the average price for both new and used cars has gone up about 33 per cent since the beginning of the pandemic.
“From a demand perspective, COVID really increased interest in owning a vehicle, and this was reflected in AutoTrader searches across the country,” he says. In the Prairies and Ontario, which have only the $5,000 federal rebate for EV buyers, 30 per cent of buyers say they would need more than $10,000 in incentives to make them consider an EV over an ICE vehicle.
Of EV buyers surveyed, their number one reason for choosing an EV was high fuel prices, followed by the environmental benefits of owning a zero emission vehicle, and the number three reason was the lower maintenance costs of owning an EV over time.