The automotive marketplace is constantly developing in response to the ever-changing demands of its consumers. Arguably this could be considered a chicken-and-egg scenario: does technology lead demand, or is it the other way around?
Inspired by the most recent Auto Trader Market Report, published earlier this week, we have picked up on a few of the most popular automotive trends impacting car dealerships.
Car Sharing & Ownership
What it means to ‘own’ a car nowadays holds a very different meaning to car buyers even 20 years ago - especially with growing numbers of buyers taking out car finance. To have exclusive access to a private car is all that many people need to regard themselves as a car owner.
Car sharing apps such as Uber and Lyft, and websites such as GoCarShare, provide an economical means of transport to those who recognise the flaws of owning a car - traffic, expense, lack of parking. Interestingly, these figures are mostly made up of millennials.
This doesn’t necessarily impact car sales or production in the near future - quite the opposite, in fact - and despite the developments in car sharing attitudes, the Auto Trader report reveals that a staggering 81% of car owners intend to continue owning a car in the future.
Interestingly, many car owners living in busy city centres own at least one car, despite the wealth of public transport options available to them - with 42% of people uninterested in car sharing at all.
The opportunity lies in acknowledging what Uber has already dominated. Ford in North America has already released a group leasing scheme for those wishing to car share, with the aim of finding new revenue streams for the company.
The sales of hybrid cars and those using electric or alternative fuels is beginning to gain a lot of traction in the marketplace, with an increasing number of manufacturers releasing their own low-emission models, such as Motorline. The increased interest could be down to many car users wishing to avoid certain implications, such as taxes.
The trend is set to continue, despite the 3 main criteria for car buying remaining the same (price, reliability and fuel efficiency).
By now I’m sure that we’ve all seen the videos of autonomous cars predicting behaviour on the road ahead and saving their passengers from an impending crash (and maybe one or two crashes!). Yet customers rarely even ask dealership employees when it comes to checking out the safety features of a potential new car buy, despite the technological developments now available.
More concerned with style than substance, the superficial details of the car are priority as opposed to the features developed to keep passengers safe on the road.
The transition period of society’s attitudes towards autonomous cars is potentially the most difficult - convincing them that there is less risk than imagined, coaxing them to buy these vehicles, the transition of them being on the road amongst non-autonomous cars. Challenges remain on how we will integrate these vehicles, as autonomous vehicles usage will remain risky whilst they have to interact with human drivers - those who commit the errors leading to 90% of motoring accidents.
This could impact car dealerships with an increase in buyers with disabilities, visual impairments or elderly drivers who would benefit from the access to a vehicle for more independence - which contributes to 73% of car buyer’s logic to purchasing a car - and mobility. Could this be a sales opportunity?
Want to read more on automotive tech? How about our post, ‘3 Predictions for Tech that will Change Automotive Marketing within Just 5 years’?