The Chevrolet Volt is doing wonders for one particular Canadian Chevrolet dealership.
Bourgeois Chevrolet in Rawdon, Quebec specializes in electric vehicles, which is one reason that dealer principal Samuel Jeanson stocks as many new and used Volts on the lot as he can, even though they take longer to sell than conventional gas-powered cars.
Bourgeois Chevrolet sold almost 300 electric vehicles in 2015, with nearly 200 of them being new. Jeanson tells Automotive News that he figures the profit per vehicle is about the same as it for conventional gas-powered cars. Already, the dealership has pre-sold 43 2017 Volts and 33 Bolts, which haven’t gone on sale yet.
Jeanson sells high numbers of electric (or in the case of the Volt, extended-range electric) vehicles despite being in a small town located about 50 miles from the nearest big city (Montreal). He does this because he does business a bit differently than most dealers.
Dealerships are generally reluctant to stock too many EVs because of the higher cost of having them lounging on the lot. In addition, salespeople who work on commission might not want to spend more time presenting the features of an EV to customers – customers who have lots of questions when it comes to EVs, which in turn makes the process take longer. So Jeanson pays his salespeople a salary instead, to keep them from losing out on income while they work a deal involving an EV.
Salespeople also help walk consumers through the math involved in the cost of ownership of an EV – such as comparing the cost of the electricity needed for recharging versus the cost of gas. Sales staff help customers determine if it’s cheaper for them to commute every day with an electric vehicle or a conventional gas-powered vehicle.
There are several other key sales initiatives that Bourgeois uses – the central being that customers can take the vehicles home for extended test drives to see if they can/want to live with a Volt over the long term. Furthermore, many staffers own EVs, but all staffers are trained to become electric vehicle experts.
This business model could provide an example going forward for other dealerships that are looking to sell more EVs.