Why fixed ops appear to be at odds with EVs

Independent shops will expect to compete for that business eventually as EVs age, said Jean-François Champagne, president of the Automotive Industries Association, which represents the aftermarket.

“Survey after survey shows Canadians want to have options.”


Consumer Reports finds EVs among the least reliable vehicles, said Fisher, “not because of their electric powertrains but because of the other componentry that they put in these vehicles,” such as electric door handles. EV dealers recognize this and are making efforts to persuade customers that a dealer service bay is the best place if things go wrong, Reuss said.

The message to Nissan’s customers, Harkness said, is “we built your vehicle, we know it best.”

For instance, a dealer service adviser can educate owners about the effects of regenerative braking on EV rear brakes, which are vulnerable to rust and corrosion from underuse. Nissan also offers lifetime free battery checks.

“That encourages customers to come in and get full details on the health of the battery,” Harkness said.

The overall service retention rate for all Nissan vehicles is only about 50 per cent, he said. Dealers need to be more “attractive, trustworthy and transparent” to cement relationships over a vehicle’s life cycle.

“With EVs, it becomes even more important, because [customers] have less and less reasons in the first few years to come back,” Harkness said.

“They stray far from the original dealership, and that’s it. We want to give them reasons to come back.”

That means being proactive, said Morrey, offering complimentary services in hopes customers return when their EVs needs care.

“Before,” he said, “we relied on them to come to us, and we engaged at that point.”

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