The future of auto retailing 

Preparing for the evolving mobility ecosystem

REMEMBER the last time you bought a car? Hardly anyone finds today’s automotive retail experience—researching, contacting the dealership, test driving, financing, and closing the deal—efficient and satisfying. Indeed, just 17 out of 4,002 car shoppers in a recent survey—less than 1 percent—said they were happy with the well-established process of buying a car. Auto retailers have acknowledged this dissatisfaction and responded with incremental changes. As other industries become more customer-centric, however, creating a less painful retail experience is increasingly table stakes for carmakers and dealers.

While improving the process is laudable, and increasingly necessary to lure customers onto the lot, such steps are hardly sufficient given the fundamental transformative dynamics reshaping the automotive industry. As Deloitte’s article-The future of mobility describes, the advent of autonomous drive and carsharing and ridesharing models (among other forces) are transforming how people move from point A to point B. Just as affected will be the automotive retail experience—how people consume mobility—and companies that start building capabilities today to succeed tomorrow will likely gain a significant advantage.

This sort of change demands a shift in mind-set beyond reducing the number of signatures required on dealership paperwork. This article highlights the immediate need to shift from a model focused on products (the vehicle) to one built on mobility experiences. Most importantly, it helps dealers and automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) think about how to address several key questions:

  • In a world of carsharing and autonomous vehicles, what experiences do consumers expect, and what are the manufacturer's and retailer's roles in the future ecosystem?
  • What are the critical capabilities that today's automotive retailers must develop to evolve their business for the long term?
  • What concrete actions should OEMs and dealers take today to lay the foundation for the strategies of the future?
(English version)
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