Some reports say car dealers will cease to exist by 2025, while some believe the role is indispensable. I believe the answer to this question is “yes”, but…
Yes, the role of the car dealer will continue to exist, but it will be fulfilled in different ways. Customer buyer behaviour and expectations have changed, but have dealers, especially in the U.S.? No, the automotive retail model has remained remarkably consistent for decades and dealers still expect customers to come and kick tyres at their forecourts and they still want to stock 200 or more cars on their premises. Meanwhile, the customer is starting their journey online on a 3D configurator, and only wants to visit the dealership with a decision made on what car and model to buy.
The legislator and strong dealership lobby, in my opinion, still want dealers to exist although car manufacturers might want to get rid of them. For car companies, selling cars isn’t natural to them; it’s been a chore for decades. However, it is now changing thanks to likes of Tesla, as having spent 4 years (the typical automotive product planning cycle) lovingly creating an all singing, all dancing, beautifully designed and engineered car. Understandably, they want the purchase experience to be as well-crafted and executed.
Unfortunately for dealers, the few have ruined it for the many when it comes to reputation. Frost & Sullivan suggests the five functions dealers need to address in the future to survive:
- The brick and click dealership store itself needs to at least meet, if not exceed, the best high-street experience. The physical store portfolio needs to tick a few 21st-century boxes, like using digital technology (screens, tablets, holography, simulators and power walls instead of cars on display) and using new formats like interactive pop up stores with augmented or virtual reality experiences.
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Forbes / Autos
Author: Digital Dealer
Digital Dealer exists to help dealers and their managers sell more vehicles more profitably by creating the best live events and media in the industry.