Readying the used-vehicle industry to absorb technology-saturated electric vehicles will require time, patience and lots of elbow grease on wholesalers' parts.
Regular readers of Automotive News are no doubt aware of the scale of the actions automakers and suppliers are taking right now to bolster design, production and parts output for EVs. Automakers' all-electric or partial-electric plans and President Joe Biden's push for an EV future recently dominated discussions at the Detroit auto show. People in the industry, especially dealers, closely monitor what manufacturers are (or aren't) doing to shed some or all of their internal combustion engine lineups in favor of electric or plug-in hybrid offerings.
Covering the used-car market and the remarketing side of the business is fascinating for the simple reason that I'm gaining a clearer picture of what complications arise when those cars shift from their new and shiny phase into the used part of their life cycle. In the last month, I've heard insight from wholesale auctions leaders, dealers and other used-vehicle business leaders alike on what they still need to do to scale their operations to address what they now see as the inevitable influx of used EVs.
It won't be just a matter of preparing employees for EV batteries and how to charge them.
When the EV surge comes, wholesalers will have quite a bit of innovative technology on their hands. EVs that come through their auction lanes might be equipped with advanced driver-assistance systems, known as ADAS. They might see EVs with larger touchscreens or EVs that use key cards instead of fobs. They might find that some EVs in their possession contain previous owners' personally identifiable information, which would need to be cleared from the vehicle.
Wholesalers and dealers, are you in the process of planning to hire and train teams of parts and service technicians dedicated to used-EV upkeep and fine-tuning? Or will you consider outsourcing those tasks to experts who already know how to work with the aforementioned innovative technologies? Share your plans and insight with me at [email protected]