Why you will soon no longer be able to negotiate the price of new electric cars

Audi wants to review its commercial strategy for its electric cars and will take inspiration from Tesla (but also Mercedes and Peugeot) by opting for direct sales. A way to better control prices, to the detriment of customers. We explain why.

Right now, electric cars are expensive, with prices higher than their thermal equivalents. But that should change over the next few years, especially for smaller models. However, and as Porsche had already pointed out, this engine is ideal for manufacturers to reap more profits.

A new strategy

But the German firm is not the only one to have understood this since it is also the case of Audi, which is also part of the Volkswagen group. The manufacturer, who recently gave us the wheel of the new Q8 e-tron, has just announced a new strategy for the coming years with regard to its concessions.

The German site Automobilwoche indeed announces that the firm with the rings will change its sales model in order to maximize its profits with its electric models. It must be said that the range is already rich, with the Q4 e-tron and e-tron GT, while others will arrive later such as an R8 and an electric A3 to name a few.

Currently, dealers buy their cars from Audi before reselling them to customers. A model that empowers sellers apply discounts as they please, which then have room for maneuver in the event of negotiation on the part of buyers. But that could soon be history. Because the manufacturer now wants to sell directly their electric cars.

Concretely, when a customer wants a zero-emission (exhaust) model of the brand, the buyer will place the order directly with Audi. The dealer will therefore no longer serve as an intermediary and will not buy the car beforehand. For the motorist, this will change a lot of things since in theory he will not be no longer possible to request a discount on the vehicle in the dealership, starting in January 2024.

However, we imagine that the manufacturers will continue to carry out commercial promotions, as is already done currently, but this will still sign the end of the concession.

An expanding model

Of course, this announcement was not very well received by dealers, even if it only concerns electric cars. A small reprieve of short duration since Audi plans to stop the sale of thermal cars from 2033, two years before the deadline imposed by the European Union. But the manufacturer has reached an agreement with its dealers.

The latter includes a fixed commission of 6% on sales of electric cars for dealers. Added to this is a flexible payment which fluctuates between 1.5 and 2.5%, but which will gradually drop to 1.5% in 2026. For comparison, Volkswagen offers 4% fixed and 2% variable commission on each electric sold.

With this new strategy, Audi should have greater control over selling prices and maximize its profits. But the manufacturer, which recently lifted the veil on its RS6 GTO concept, is not the first to have such an idea. Indeed, Tesla has been practicing direct sales for a while, in particular via its online configurator.

An idea taken up by more and more manufacturers today, including Mercedes, which offers a generous fixed commission of 6.5%. This is also the case for French brands, since the Stellantis group (Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat, DS, Opel, Jeep, etc.) intends to do the same, thanks to online sales.

The constructions

Note that Audi’s strategy will not initially be launched only in Germany at first. However, it could then be extended to other countries including France if the experience is conclusive.

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