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Selling cars in SA: Who’s driving the customer experience?

2018-07-02 13:36

iStock

Forget everything you know about manufacturing, marketing, and selling cars. It’s all changing right now, according to Rob van Rijswijk, Global Director Business Development in the MSXI Global Solutions Team.

Rijswijk said: "Driving this change is the emergence of new technologies, clean energy requirements and consumer experience.

Navigating the road ahead

"OEMs, Tier One suppliers, dealers and car owners are all finding themselves at the epicentre of this transformation, wondering what the new world of driving will look like and, more importantly, how to navigate the road ahead in terms of finding the car you want, buying the car, driving the car, servicing and repairing the car and then looking for a new car again when it is time to change."

READ: More than R1-billion invested in Opel South Africa

Van Rijswijk says that wherever the new road leads, traditional business models will be rendered obsolete. He added that OEMs will, in the future, not only be competing with rival OEMs, but also with other companies in the mobility business, all vying for potential customers with many of these people already living in the digital space.

“As this evolution unfolds, consumers will no longer buy just a car. Instead they will demand a digitally-enabled mobility experience that is profoundly different from anything they have experienced before. The new driving experience will be a confluence of five major forces: the connected car, integrated sales and service, electrification, shared mobility and, in some First World markets, the option of autonomous self-driving cars,” explained the MSXI executive.

A multi-functional industry

He added that some of these changes are already underway. The motor industry has moved from a product-centric, mono-channel sales model to a customer-centric, smart ecosystem that integrates the dealer-based purchase of a car with other elements that are central to the consumer’s life, such as digital apps, services and brand engagements that enhance and personalise the driving experience.

Recent market research by McKinsey examined purchasing decisions of almost 20 000 consumers across five industries and five continents. It showed that brands need to find new ways to get themselves included in the initial consideration set that consumers develop during their purchasing-decision journey.

Van Rijswijk said that research had shown the 72% of consumers feel that an improved buying experience would motivate them to visit the dealership more often, while 70% of organisations believe that increasing emphasis on the customer experience is driving business growth strategies.

Dealers may not sell cars to individuals at all. Instead they may offer mobility packages where vehicles are shared between individuals to use at different times for different purposes, necessitating a selection of vehicles in the package.

                                                                          Image: iStock

"Fleet sales and maintaining mobility parks in urban areas will be potential revenue drivers for dealers. Service will remain critical, with vehicle and customer data generated by connected vehicles opening the door to predictive and prepaid maintenance,” commented Van Rijswijk. 

"OEMs and dealers will have to see the new vehicle owner or user in new ways. They will have to ask serious questions of themselves if they are to survive in this rapidly changing world."

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