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Sagging Sales Force Electric Vehicle Makers To Revamp Marketing Strategy

If you thought the popularity of electric vehicles was fueled by a desire to save the planet, think again.  As it turns out, saving money is the highest motivator when it comes to convincing consumers to switch from gas powered engines to electric, according to marketing experts.

An article in Automotive News quotes Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc., as saying that marketing the environmental aspect of electric vehicles “… hasn’t worked out in anyone’s favor so far. They have to sell the benefits of why you would need this on a day-to-day basis.”  That means appealing to consumer’s pocketbooks, rather than their worry about climate change or their desire to save the melting polar ice cap.

Flagging sales are spurring automakers like Tesla Motors, Nissan and General Motors to take that advice by redirecting their marketing efforts toward the financial benefits of driving electric vehicles. Nissan’s new ad campaign focuses on the low lease payments available through dealers of their 2013 Leaf.  The Chevy Volt, made by GM is also taking a different road when it comes to marketing their vehicles, after less-than anticipated sales.

Tesla Motors is focusing their marketing effort for their luxury priced $69,000 Model S electric sedan on the financial advantage of owning the car. They claim the lease payment of $1,000 per month would be reduced to $500 once you factor in fuel savings and tax credits.

They might also want to take a look at the ad campaign of French automaker Renault, who’s trying an altogether different marketing tack.  Their marketing for the new Zoe all-electric sedan focuses on the quiet aspect of the car. The ad features a gaggle of citizens tearing down an ugly concrete wall with sledgehammers and pitchforks to the soundtrack of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds of Silence.’  Once the giant gray edifice has crumbled, they watch the sleek little Zoe cruise by with barely a whoosh of sound.  The tagline reads, ‘Zero Noise, Zero Emission.’

Both the Nissan Leaf and the GM Volt overestimated sales of their rollout vehicles, missing targets by the tens of thousands.  Since then, they’ve had to reevaluate their sales and marketing strategy to find new ways of inspiring consumers to purchase the vehicles.  According to Bloomberg, sales of electric vehicles amounted to less than 90,000 units since U.S. automakers ventured into the market.