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Tech is changing the way we buy cars

2015-06-04 11:52

BARCELONA, Spain - How have new technologies changed how people buy a car? The automotive sector is adapting business models to the digital age.

Millenials, people born between 1980 and 2000, are using smartphones to do research on their future car purchases.

Pablo Barrios, head of digital marketing at Spanish car maker Seat, said: "Speed of change in new technologies has changed our buying habits, and so all companies have had to change their business models, the automotive sector is no exception, and the digital age has arrived in full flood."


According to Seat 95% of people browse the internet before they buy a car, and seven of the 10 most important sources of information for the purchase of a vehicle are to be found on the web. Also, the proliferation of different devices has changed our daily living to such an extent that "the mobile phone has become an extension of people's bodies."

Read: 10 things to do when car-buying online

Faced with this reality, companies attach increasing importance to the new technologies. In the case of Seat, 30% of its investment in the media is targeted at digital channels, a trend that will increase over the next few years.

The digital marketing team works not only to help potential buyers choose a car best suited to their needs, but also concerns itself with developing a whole series of apps that were "unthinkable a few years ago", adds Barrios.


The new apps created by the company tell you where you have parked your car, when your parking meter time is running out, send a report of the exact location of the car in the event of an accident, hold the driver's manual or monitor car maintenance on-line.

READ: 10 things I learned from buying a new car

As far as Pablo Barrios is concerned, knowing how to manage the information flow on the social media is the key, the fact being that "900 million people log on to Facebook every month, and 53 million use Twitter daily", he adds.

Barrios said: "The impact of the social networks can change the opinion of an entire population, and we have seen examples of how, using only these tools, governments have changed and revolutions started", he exclaims. In the case of car companies, "a single comment could be your best promotional campaign or bring about the greatest crisis in the company", explains Barrios.

Aware that this technological revolution has only just started, Pablo spends his days looking at a screen, and travelling continuously from Europe to the US thinking about future apps and seeing them in his mind's eye.

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