I got a call from Tom Durant, the owner of the Chevy dealership, for which I work. He asked me where I was and then asked me to come to his office.
One thing about me: Whenever this happens, I have a moment of panic, expecting the, “Well, Buzz, we gave this EV thing a good try, but it’s just not working out, so…” talk.
A few minutes later he called again and said, “I’ve got some people for you to meet. Meet us at the bottom of the stairs.” When I arrived, a stream of well-dressed businesspeople were streaming out the door, with Tom in the lead. He introduced them to me as members of the Texas Automobile Dealer’s Association, or TADA. This year, Tom is the chairman of TADA. We wanted me to give the TADA members a tour of “Electric Avenue,” our EV & Hybrid Sales & Learning Center.
As we walked toward my building, I gave them a short history of how I came to be in the car business and what Classic Chevrolet is doing with this new center. I spoke about the “educational sale,” where the customer is going to visit the dealership 4 to 5 times, before making a purchase, instead of buying “on the spot” like in a traditional car sale.
Once inside, the visitors had very good questions for me about what it is like to sell EVs, what concerns customers have, what has surprised me most about driving EVs, how built-out is the charging infrastructure, etc. I felt the questions were so well though-out that these must be questions on the minds of many car dealers today.
If anything, it showed me that, even in oil-rich Texas, car dealers are sitting up and taking notice of plug-in vehicles and want to better understand how to be successful selling them.
Maybe I’m having an impact after all…