EV startup brands aren’t doing well at connecting with potential customers

Startup EV brands Tesla, Lucid, Rivian and Polestar tout desirable products and a direct-sales business model that avoids the hassle of dealerships. But according to a recent study by consultancy Pied Piper, they may not connect with potential customers as with traditional luxury brands.

In the ranking of 25 brands, Rivian came in last, ahead of Polestar and Lucid. Tesla was ranked 21st. Established luxury brands selling mostly gasoline vehicles—Cadillac, Infiniti, and Mercedes-Benz—occupied the top three spots.

2022 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index Ranking

2022 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index Ranking

It’s the first time for this annual study that analysts include Lucid, Polestar and Rivian who, like Tesla, all eschew the standard franchise dealership model. While many car buyers find the dealership experience to be escalating, the study found these brands not to offer a consistent sales process from location to location (or, in Rivian’s case, over the phone, as the company did not offer any information during the study). The showroom did not open) was held).

Meanwhile, Tesla has failed to keep pace with its growing sales volume, analysts claim. It scored above average in previous studies, but no longer provides adequate levels of in-person or online customer support.

That’s bad news for Tesla, which is often viewed as rivaling luxury brands compared to mainstream brands based on pricing, the demographics of its customers, and market share. Tesla’s price hike has only underscored that the automaker competes mostly with luxury brands.

2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance

2022 Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance

Plus, EV buyers have long held onto the dealer experience for EVs – and as we’ve outlined in the past, many dealers don’t even want to sell EVs.

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That seems to be changing for some EVs with long waiting lists, pricing surcharges, and other signs that dealers are no longer losing money on any extra time it takes to sell them — and thus, this study shows that. Might help point out, maybe they’re willing to put in some extra effort to answer questions from EV buyers.

Does it suggest there may be a problem when less-established brands with digital-focused models are outnumbered by early adopters who already know the vehicles?