The Automotive Industry in a Changing World
As with many industries, the automotive industry was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but unlike other sectors, it’s coming back looking quite a bit different.
In April 2020, the first full month of lockdown in the UK, new vehicle registrations nearly disappeared, dropping 97% year-on-year. This unprecedented hit forced countless companies and dealerships to change their business model, adapt their customer experience and invest in upgrading their platforms to suit the future way of business.
Across the automotive industry there has been some reluctance to evolve with the times over the last few years. As traditional methods seemed to be working fine, data, automation and technology have, on occasion, been snubbed. However, the pandemic highlighted the vast gaps in industry technology when consumers, in their masses, flocked online as opposed to doing everything in-person.
While dealers before COVID-19 have been able to offer vehicle delivery, only some have the online capabilities to execute a full vehicle sale online. This is changing and the numbers paint a very telling story;
- 92% of auto purchasers already research online
- Companies like Cazoo and Carzam, whose USP is their at-home delivery, have exploded. Both are two of the UK’s fastest growing businesses with their valuations climbing exponentially since 2020 (Cazoo recently valued between £5-7 billion).
- A recent Google study found that 18% of auto shoppers would buy a vehicle sooner if they could purchase the vehicle they wanted without going to a dealership.
Where are we now?
Despite that 97% drop, we’re back to 2019 levels of sales, but demand is changing.
- Why and how? People haven’t been able to travel, move house and make other large purchases, easily. This means lots of people have a kitty of money saved which we’re seeing being spent on cars.
- Why cars? Well many people now feel uncomfortable on public transport so a demand for personal vehicles has increased.
- Given car production was massively halted in 2020, the demand for used cars has increased 10.5% in average price.
- The demand for roomier SUVs in particular, which are often pricier models, has increased.
Furthermore, with lockdowns enforced and temporary exemption certificates adding up to 4 months allowance, many people are yet to renew their MOT. This has created a bottleneck and dealerships and garages can expect to have that phone ringing.
It’s not just MOTs. Enquiries from AutoTrader have sky-rocketed with the site being visited an average of 2.3 million times a day, in April.
An influx of enquiries and an outdated system? HELP!
For dealerships, the focus needs to be on the customer experience. Decision makers need to sit up and take notice of the changing market around them and adapt to stay competitive. We’re not saying you need to start delivering cars from John O’Groats to Land’s End, but appreciate that the modern consumer wants to do business a very different way.
Start with your online portal. Firstly, dealers should use it and test it themselves to understand what a customer would go through using their service, from the first click, to driving a new car. Use data to optimise your site and invest in making it more interactive and accessible.
So now you’ve got the phone ringing, you need to turn your focus on managing those calls and leads. That’s where TalkingForms can help.
A Forbes Study recently showed that 71% of internet leads were wasted because the business did not respond fast enough! The average response time is 42 hours so there is a lot of room for improvement. Our software allows you to be connected to that lead within 30 seconds AND know what they’re enquiring about.
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You can demo the super-fast TalkingForms service yourself or with others in your team HERE.
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