Automaker executives from Ford, GM, Nissan, and Toyota are fond of saying that not very many consumers want electric cars. They sometimes claim they could produce many more electric cars, but customers are not asking for them. (The execs somehow ignore the hundreds of thousands of orders Tesla has pulled in for the Model 3.)
Aside from giving me wicked cognitive dissonance via the completely incorrect claim that consumers don’t want electric cars, the insidious thing is that these automakers have hardly used traditional means of drumming up demand — aka advertising — to try to persuade buyers to want their electric cars.
Automakers have huge advertising budgets. Last I heard, the industry spends more money on advertising than any other industry in the US or worldwide. The automakers push SUVs and pickup trucks on you incessantly. They want to convince you to buy non-electric gas guzzlers. Yet, a new study from the Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management (NESCAUM) (NESCAUM) indicates that “six major automakers in the U.S. (General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, and FiatChrysler) are spending almost nothing to advertise their electric vehicles,” as the Sierra Club summarizes it.
Normally, I wouldn’t say the automakers are trying to not sell electric cars. I’d just say that they aren’t trying very hard to sell the EVs. However, when you look at EV advertising compared to non-EV advertising from these firms, it becomes more visually obvious — the companies are trying hard to sell gasmobiles while not encouraging people to buy their electric cars. That essentially means they are trying to not sell electric cars.
Furthermore, it’s clear that it’s not just one company that’s lagging. Across the board, traditional automakers spend almost nothing to shape the values and product interests of consumers in a positive way.
I have a slight feeling traditional automakers are not going to do a great job spinning up consumer demand for EVs if they continue to funnel the advertising cash to other models. What do you think?
Of course, if production is greatly limited even at current levels of demand, stimulating more demand might not make much sense. It seems production is an even bigger problem than demand. When will these corporations actually get their battery act together and be able to get vehicles in the hands of eager customers?
Related: Tesla — Dead For 10 Years