The far-reaching nature of Tesla’s influence in all corners of the automotive world gives the impression that legacy automakers and their dealerships are well informed by now about the brand’s appeal, features, and benefits. But surprisingly, Tesla’s uprising still looks like something the traditional gasoline car industry is not quite ready to greet head on.
This sentiment was recently captured in a reaction video posted by Brian Jenkins of YouTube channel i1Tesla. In the video, Brian took three legacy auto car salesmen on a test drive near their dealership in his Model 3, providing them with the full experience of Tesla ownership. Based on their questions and responses to the drive, they were not particularly aware of everything the all-electric vehicle had to offer.
“I hate going and getting gas,” one of the salesmen commented in the video prior to the ride, acknowledging one of the most obvious appeals of a Tesla. Other mentions were made about the amount of space inside the vehicle (more than expected) and reviews were mixed upon realizing all of a Tesla’s functions are handled on the center touch screen rather than spread throughout the console. The term “weird” was used in that part of the discussion, but so was the phrase, “I like this car.”
Throughout the test drive, the salesman were particularly curious about the Model 3’s Autopilot functionality and how it was able to recognize and respond to its surroundings. There seemed to be more familiarity with the overall concept and several comparisons were made to driving enhancement features offered by many legacy auto makers in their newer vehicles such as braking assistance. “This is the way of the future here, right?” one of them is heard remarking about the self-driving features.
Tesla owners and enthusiasts are well aware of the selling points of electric cars, but in an industry that’s rapidly moving in the direction of electrification, it’s somewhat surprising to see traditional automotive dealers lacking much familiarity, at the very least for the purpose of swaying their customers in the ICE direction. Brian’s video obviously is only one example out of a huge industry salesforce, but it also begs the question of whether that industry is really ready for a Tesla-style future.
The president of Sonic Automotive Inc., the fifth-largest auto dealership in the US representing 24 brands across the country, acknowledged the “Tesla Effect” on the industry during Sonic’s Q4 2018 earnings call. Noting that the year’s last quarter had been rough on legacy brands with dealerships in the California area, he admitted there was “no question” Tesla’s Model 3 played a major role in the challenges faced by the car makers. A pivot towards electrification by these same companies is now being made, something Tesla CEO Elon Musk noted during the Model Y unveiling.
The realization of the all-electric car’s demand in the market may have been slow to come, but the financial impact will likely quicken that pace significantly in the near future.
Watch the full Model 3 vs. three salesmen reaction video below: