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Driving interest in the pandemic’s impact on the automotive industry

Daniel Davenport
September 18, 2020

In times of complexity, few things aid leaders like actionable data. At Capgemini, we are fortunate to have one of the world’s top-ranked in-house think tanks with the capability to tackle business issues from a global perspective. When our clients in the automotive sector wondered how current events would affect sales and usage changes, we responded with a survey that uncovered new trends, pointed towards short-term solutions, and gave us all a better understanding of where we are headed as an industry.

It didn’t take long for the press to pick up the story. CNET first covered it from the news wire and noticed that younger buyers want to avoid ridesharing options they had relied on in the past. TechCrunch also saw the potential impact on ridesharing services and used the survey as supporting evidence of the trend.

A Detroit Free Press feature highlighted that 35% of global consumers are considering buying a car in 2020. Popular industry site The Truth About Cars pointed out that the survey highlighted a greater desire for the control over personal safety that comes with owning a vehicle. The Weather Channel extended the issue of safety with concerns around the use of public transportation. Staten Island Live and Autoweek both predicted the potential for increased traffic as a result of more commuters using personal transportation.

The buying interests of younger consumers was the biggest data point that resonated with the media. The study found that while 35% of all people surveyed globally were considering getting a car this year, 45% of those under 35 were considering doing so, and a majority of the latter group have never owned a car. The impact of younger buyers will be felt across the industry but may be found most acutely in the car-buying process.

An article from Forbes states the new reality plainly: Coronavirus Pushes Auto Dealers To Remove Customer Pain Points.  In the article, Anthony Pordon, Executive Vice President of the Penske Automotive Group, said “This e-commerce train is going to continue to accelerate – it’snot going back.” The push to offer a contactless consumer experience – from online research to no-touch test drives and digital signatures for financing – means the automobile industry has to quickly embrace new capabilities that were considered secondary or tertiary options only months ago.

With the considerable head start that quality research provides, Capgemini has developed a framework for our automotive clients to restart, recover, and capitalize on buyer interest. But it’s not going to be easy, with 54% of consumers postponing their planned car purchase. We identified several areas to explore, including special incentives, flexible contracts, and digital sales, that can help bridge the consumer-confidence gap and get people buying again. These capabilities need to leverage best practices but also forge ahead with new practices that address the global and regional preferences of new buyers.

To accomplish that, Capgemini created a Sales Recovery Framework to guide our efforts across eight dimensions and provide OEMs, dealers, and third-party providers a roadmap to prioritize initiatives and focus on areas that will yield the greatest returns of short- and long-term value.

As a global leader in operations technology, Capgemini is proud to provide thought leadership that helps the world chart a new direction in the automobile industry, but our research goes far beyond one industry. Please visit the CRI to discover insightful reports on a wide range of industry topics, including leadership, cybersecurity, supply chain, and financial services.

Business leaders need timely information to make critical decisions over the next months and years. Capgemini and the CRI are ready to stand with our clients and the global business community at large to lead with empathy, compassion, and technical acumen to make the world a better place for everyone.