When looking back ten years trends in the automotive industry have unmistakably shifted the way cars are bought and sold. The consumer has changed. The digital age has created an expectation for having access to what consumers want when they want it.
Before consumers had direct access to all the features and reviews online, visiting the dealership and taking the car on a test drive was the only way to get educated on the options and performance. Now not only can consumers research their selections online via the manufacturer’s website, but they can also watch enthusiasts and professionals test-drive and report their findings on YouTube. Having this kind of access empowers consumers to identify what they want from a performance standpoint, but also to align with their individual lifestyle.
Social Media has created an increasing awareness of customer service by sharing the quality of an individual’s car buying experience on a public forum for all to see. Resources such as Edmunds.com have become a valuable tool for considering the current and future value of a vehicle. Consumers are realizing that depreciation varies from car to car and they are looking for top performance within their price range. Tesla Motors approached the market with the direct-to-consumer sales model, disrupting the traditional dealership model. Resale has gone from print catalogs to ebay, craigslist and dozens of other sites. Used car dealers are having to leverage these resources in order to stay relevant.
So what’s going to happen in the next 10 years? How will the continuous progression in design tools and the increased flexibility and scalability in manufacturing impact the sales cycle? Will manufacturing become more on-demand reducing excess inventory and providing consumers with what they want when they want it?
Innovation incorporates creativity and ingenuity. Consumer desires for competitive price-performance and integrated philosophical values have become an increasingly influential factor in the business of designing, manufacturing and selling cars.