The trends introduced in 2018 only get stronger in the year 2019; for instance, the further development of self-driving cars, increase in the demand and manufacturing of green cars or even industrial autos such as forklifts and the near wipeout of the manual hand gear. This is the year in which major strides will be taken for the auto industry. Two years back we saw millennials taking over the reins from the older generation, which meant the auto industry got a boost for energy with fresh creative ideas, innovations, communicative marketing, and sales strategy; which in turn set the rhythm for how the industry now functions in the year 2019. Here are some of the most noteworthy trends as of March 2019.

SHIFT ONLINE

Today, the market is majorly dominated by the millennials and their purchasing habits, which essentially means that everything needs to be adapted for the digital age. Millennials are increasingly looking at apps or software to search for, purchase and inspect their vehicles. Many traditional dealers are forced to make the shift in the face of this growing trend. In the US alone car dealers actively utilise software or apps to market, sell, or service the vehicle. The dealers use digital ads to reach the target audience, and also to shorten the sales funnel and to book servicing requests online. Some even do walkaround video dissection in order to appeal to this market. This also helps in automating and streamlining some mundane tasks. There are even apps that target sales of auto parts; users can buy tyres, headlights, wheel caps etc. online. These apps deal in both used and new car parts.
This trend is also gaining speed in the used car market. More and more people are frequenting apps to get the best deals on used cars, some even enable you to buy used forklifts, used tractors and other industrial vehicles.

Here is the list of top apps in the auto industry.

DECLINE IN THE NUMBER OF CAR OWNERS OR DRIVING LICENSE HOLDERS

This holds true especially in cities where public transport is streamlined, efficient and where traffic is an issue. Car-sharing apps such as Grab, Lyft or even the carpooling option with Uber, are some of the factors contributing to the decline in the number of car owners as compared to the previous years. The shift towards a greener way of life is another deciding factor that plays into this decision.

RISE IN CAR-SHARING & CAR RENTING OPTIONS

As pointed out earlier, the decline in the number of car owners has led to the rise of car-sharing and carpooling apps. Another segment that has boomed in the last few years is that of fractional ownership, in order to facilitate the growing number of freelancing millennial population. Apps such as Maven Gig which provides rental cars for any car-share or delivery jobs that come up. This is aimed at the growing segment of individuals who are willing to rent a car rather than go in for the commitment of owning one. This enables the individual to reap the benefits of owning a car without having to worry about the care that goes into it such as changing the tyres, headlight restoration or automotive air conditioning repair etc..

DEVELOPMENT OF AUTONOMOUS CARS

All the major players are striving to launch autonomous automobiles; the effort continues and only gets stronger in 2019. The auto-driving capability is not just limited to cars; it extends to all modes of transport such as trains, buses, trucks and in the future maybe even planes.

ALTERNATIVE FUELS AND ELECTRIC CARS

Electrification of cars has caught on speed in 2019, and the sales of electric cars have gone up by 70%. Multi-vehicle electric charging stations are being installed all across the US and major players such as Porsche, Volkswagen, BMW are investing in designing electric, plug-in hybrids and cars that run on alternative fuels.

FALL OF THE MANUAL GEAR

The advances in fuel efficiency and better-performing auto transmission have eliminated the need for manual gears in the cars, even the paddle shifters are quite redundant at this point. The shift would be towards eliminating the gearbox altogether.

CAR DESIGN FOCUSED TOWARDS AN OLDER DEMOGRAPHIC

The median age in Southeast Asia continues to be younger, at 30 years, but that across the rest of the world is at least a decade or two older. For instance, the median age in Japan is 50 years. The popular choices of the vehicles in this age demographic are midsize crossovers, which facilitate easy entry and exit. The introduction of auto-driving technology and car-booking services are making life easier for this demographic.

DEMAND FOR SMALLER AND LIGHTER VEHICLES

Making a vehicle lightweight has been the focus of many manufacturers due to stringent policies on carbon emission rates and the advancement in technology and material. One of the ways we have seen manufacturers enable this trend is by the use of carbon-fibre panels for the body and nano-composite elements for the underbody.

DECREASE IN SALES

Many dealerships in the US have been reporting a drop in sales and consumer footfalls. This drop can be attributed to two main causes – many owners are offering their two/three-year-old leased vehicles up for sale in the pre-owned car segment and second is the higher interest rates. The customers are getting more selective about the year, make and the model for the car and spending a higher time to make the final decision. In order for the dealership to make the final sale, they have to offer services or benefits that their competitors cannot. It is a cut-throat competition.

FOCUS ON SUVs, CROSSOVERS AND PICK UP TRUCKS

The prime example of this trend is the auto company Ford discontinuing their passenger car models barring mustang and focus hatchback in all of North America. Their focus will now be SUVs, Crossovers and Pick-up trucks. This is in line with the consumption patterns for 2019.

ONLINE TRENDS

With smartphones getting better with each passing day, more and more consumers are browsing on their cell phone instead of their desktop. Car dealers will have to optimise their websites for mobile if they want to maintain business. Another prime area that dealers will have to add in their marketing kitty is GMB, it is free listings for businesses by Google which shows information about the business on google maps and searches.

That just about wraps up the beginning of 2019 up until this month in the automotive industry. We look forward to seeing what’s ahead this year!

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