The latest automotive market research trends, predictions and forecasts
The global automotive industry is entering an era of far-reaching and extensive transformation facing strict regulatory requirements, unpredictable exchange rates, a taxing economic environment and shifts from a product-centric past to a customer-centric future. In this environment, customer service marketing steps to the fore as a means to differentiate brands and retain customers.
The Automotive Future Now Report was researched and composed by automotive market research specialists, Knowledge Executive, at the request of Innovation Group a multi-national provider of business process services and technology solutions to the insurance, financial services, automotive and fleet industries. Published in February 2016, the report presents forward-looking analyses based on in-depth interviews and qualitative research conducted with automotive industry executives in South Africa, the UK and the US. It describes the frustrations and hopes of a diverse industry and its impassioned business executives. It explores the impact of global automotive service marketing trends on the local market and stresses the importance of strategic preparation for meeting the future now, with a focus on lifecycle-centric, customer service marketing, services, technology and products.
Key Findings of the Automotive Future Now Report and the effect on Automotive Service Marketing
As the South African automotive industry prepares for a belt-tightening year in 2016, the focus is on smarter strategies for both streamlining costs and gaining and retaining customers in a service-centric environment. There is also a need for an increased focus on a new data driven business model, with the aim of building data rich, individual customer profiles in order to deliver beneficial customer service marketing and services based on actionable customer insights.
Digital disruption is a reality that affects car manufacturers, marketers, and dealerships. Consumers are demanding more interactive services and mobile apps that plug seamlessly into connected vehicles. Different markets – and diverse brands – respond differently to this disruption and there is no one-size-fits all strategy.
Automobiles have not only shaped the global economy but also how millions of people work, commute and live across South Africa. Today’s connected cars – with their intelligent, autonomous drive-by-wire electric systems and drive assistants – are creating a richer driving and mobility experience for consumers. How this translates into customer service marketing will result in some changes across the value chain. Expect to see an increase in co-operation between manufacturers, multi-brand dealerships and closer integration/interaction between OEMs and dealerships in general.
It is clear that there will need to be cohesive alignment between brand image, the buying experience, and service and maintenance in order to apply a consistent, convenient and relevant experience for the customer throughout the ownership lifecycle and at every customer touch-point.
Real-time contact with the customer, as an individual, in a richly personalised, beneficial manner is now possible directly to the car screen. If the customer’s experience of this is intrusive, it will be rejected. If the experience enhances the customer’s life or lifestyle with applications and real-time information that assists and enhances their driving experience, it will be welcomed.
Expect to see further integration and interaction as many OEMs and dealers recognise that a closer relationship enhances sales and customer loyalty by providing a seamless customer experience with integrated OEM and dealer marketing.
Ultimately, both consumer expectation of more mobile service options and dealer cost pressures will result in the deployment of more progressive customer-centric-service models.
ABOUT THIS SURVEY
South African Automobile executives from OEMs, Dealerships, Insurance and Banking & Finance organisations were identified and approached to attend an initial Round Table Research Session. From this, the process for further in-depth, qualitative surveys was deployed whereby executives were interviewed within face-to-face and telephonic surveys. The data analysis of the qualitative data was processed using the observer impression. Knowledge Executive examined the data, interpreted it via forming impressions and collective trends and reported these impressions and forecasts in a structured form within this report.