Electric Vehicle transition prompts decline in brand loyalty among Europeans, finds Adevinta

Due to increasingly fierce competition from emerging EV manufacturers, brand loyalty can no longer be taken for granted

Established carmakers have historically relied on the twin pillars of reputation and brand loyalty to maintain their customer base. But due to increasingly fierce competition from emerging EV manufacturers, brand loyalty can no longer be taken for granted.

That’s according to a new survey of 5,000 European consumers from Adevinta, a leading online classifieds group and significant player in the European mobility market. Their specialist mobility marketplaces include mobile.de (DE), coches.net (ES), and automobile.it (IT), as well as generalist marketplaces with a strong mobility offering, such as leboncoin (FR) and Marktplaats (NL).

Brand reputation remains a key factor in purchasing decisions. For 45% of European consumers, it’s the top consideration when looking for a new vehicle, and nearly one-third (31%) have historically bought vehicles from the same brand.

But the EV transition has levelled the playing field, and Adevinta’s research indicates that many are willing to switch allegiance to get the vehicle that meets their needs. For example, over a quarter (28%) are more likely to purchase an EV from a new or unfamiliar brand compared to if they were to purchase a petrol or diesel vehicle.

A number of key factors regularly cited as barriers to adoption, like battery range, affordability and availability, are prompting consumers to consider brands they might not be familiar with. For example, nearly four in 10 (39%) consumers would consider buying an EV from a new or unfamiliar brand if it outperformed other models in terms of battery range. Over a third (35%) would do the same if it was cheaper than other models; and more than one in four (26%) would consider buying an EV from a new or unfamiliar brand if the vehicle could be delivered more quickly.

Ajay Bhatia, CEO of mobile.de and Head of Adevinta’s global mobility portfolio, commented: “In the fast evolving EV market, established manufacturers can no longer rely on brand loyalty alone to secure market share. So, in order to stay front of mind for a new generation of EV buyers, there is a job to do to build trust by alleviating concerns around key barriers to adoption, such as cost and battery range.”

From a list of ten popular car models,* consumer awareness of EVs is low when compared to petrol or diesel equivalents. For example, the Volkswagen Golf (52%), BMW 3 Series (39%), and Dacia Sandero (34%) are the most widely recognised by respondents. In contrast, when it comes to the EV equivalents, 28% of consumers recognise Volkswagen’s ID.3, 29% are aware of BMW’s i4, and just 15% are aware of the Dacia Spring.

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With European EV volumes expected to grow by 18% year on year, established manufacturers need to contend with a host of increasingly competitive emerging brands for market share. Analysis indicates that one in four EVs sold in Europe this year will be made in China.

But building a reputation in the European market is no mean feat due to the consumer tendency to associate quality with legacy. For example, nearly three in 10 consumers (29%) don’t trust that vehicles manufactured by new brands are very reliable or well built.

From a list of ten brands* consisting of legacy and emerging manufacturers, consumers see Volkswagen (41%), BMW (40%), and Tesla (27%) as the most trustworthy or reliable. In contrast, the other end of the spectrum is occupied by emerging brands like Polestar (6%), MG (4%), BYD (4%), and Lynk & Co (3%).

When asked which brands** have the strongest reputation as EV manufacturers, Tesla unsurprisingly came out on top with 48%, followed by Volkswagen and BMW, both with 26%. In contrast, other manufacturers that (like Tesla) focus on EVs, such as Polestar and BYD – the world’s best-selling EV manufacturer in 2022 – are seen as reputable EV manufacturers by just 11% and 9%, respectively.

*Consumers were asked to choose amongst the following models: Volkswagen Golf, BMW 3 Series, Dacia Sandero, Tesla Model Y, Porsche 911, BMW i4, Volkswagen ID.3, Porche Taycan, Dacia Spring, MG 4.

**Consumers were asked to choose amongst the following brands: Volkswagen, BMW, Tesla, Renault, Nissan, Seat, Polestar, MG, BYD, Lynk & Co.

SOURCE: Adevinta

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