For drivers, choosing a vehicle brand is a decision driven by emotion, often prompted by their manufacturer of choice catering for their priorities. When it comes to Electric Vehicles (EVs), as well as making a brand decision, customers have committed to a completely new, and greener lifestyle.
Once they’ve made the switch, drivers are unlikely to change back to internal combustion engines (ICEs). Therefore, when it comes to vehicle hire and replacement, drivers reasonably expect a vehicle that is the same standard as their own, in the same brand they are loyal to.
This is important for OEMs as, if a driver is involved in an accident and their dealership, insurer or accident management company offers them a replacement EV with a different range or charge time to their own (or even an ICE vehicle), this will impact on their service expectation and damage brand loyalty.
In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why OEMs need to act to ensure their customers’ brand-to-brand expectations are met when it comes to temporary replacement vehicles.
The importance of brand loyalty
Although most EVs are charged in the same way, some brands have specific infrastructure that could have been the customers’ deciding factor when choosing an EV. For example, Tesla has its own Supercharger network, a comprehensive international charging infrastructure which is exclusive to Tesla vehicles.
EV owners might rely on being able to access specific charging points, particularly if they cover high daily mileages. In this case, they will need a brand-for-brand replacement vehicle should theirs be in for repair. Similarly, it’s important for the replacement EV’s range to meet or exceed that of the customer’s current vehicle; this can be guaranteed by replacing the vehicle with a like-for-like EV.
In addition to the practicalities, there are other factors that could have influenced the customers’ decision to buy their EV. These include performance, technology and vehicle design quality. Customers will expect these qualities in a replacement vehicle to match their own vehicle. If not, the experience of driving a car that falls short of or even exceeds the capabilities of their own, could be a jarring one.
How brand for brand impacts customer retention
Thanks to ever-increasing competition in the EV market and the high cost of research and development, making sure customers remain loyal to their chosen brand should be a top priority for OEMs. If a customer has the opportunity to test drive a different brand to the one they’re used to whilst their own is in repair, there is a risk that they will prefer the replacement vehicle. This could lead to that brand losing the customer to its competition.
In many cases, replacement vehicles will be newer than the customer’s current vehicle, offering them the chance to try out the latest product over a period of days or weeks, which could lead to a new vehicle sale. This means that a credit hire service could inadvertently act as an extended test drive whilst the customer’s own car is in repair. For this reason, extending brand consistency to the rental vehicle is vital for customer retention.
The message for OEMs, therefore, is to always ensure their dealership network and other partners understand the importance of brand-for-brand vehicle replacement, and that they have the resource to provide it.
Read our EV whitepaper to explore the growing importance of EV replacement vehicles and original research from AX.
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Last year, we conducted a survey of more than 2,200 UK drivers to determine what Britain’s motorists really think about EV ownership and adoption. Download the full report to find out what consumers see as the biggest advantages and disadvantages are, the most common misconceptions around EVs and more.