Keeping Up With Global Trends
Despite innovation, the foundations of the automotive industry have not changed significantly throughout the years. However, recent developments will bring a major transformation in the sector in the near future, according to Jorge Ampudia, Director for the Products Industry of Accenture, a consulting company. "The automotive industry has been experiencing an accelerated transformation over the past five years. Customers have higher expectations than before, originating from experiences in other industries and these are being transferred to the automotive industry,” he says.
The industry is shifting toward a connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) future and OEMs are already investing resources to face these global trends. “Cars are and will be more complex, including more electronics than mechanics, and now are digital extensions of their users. All OEMs are investing in vehicle connectivity, autonomous vehicles and electrification,” Ampudia says. The idea of car ownership is also changing as a result. Ride-hailing companies are changing the industry’s paradigm by helping people to move from owning a car to just consuming it. “OEMS need to think now about their future role in mobility.”
Technology is quintessential to improve the connected car’s performance and vehicles will need to generate and manage data efficiently. Accenture is collaborating with some Tier 1 suppliers in developing a new generation of digital components so OEMs can improve the connected user experience. “We are investing financial and human resources on innovation and research to address these areas, especially considering that several of our Top clients are automotive companies,” says Ampudia.
Although advanced trends have not been fully adopted in Mexico, they are gaining strength. In the MAR 2018 interviewee survey, 36 percent of the interviewees expected at least a 10 percent level of penetration for electric and hybrid vehicles in the Mexican market within five years. Meanwhile, 44 percent of the interviewees consider car ownership is losing some importance among Mexican consumers.
While CASE trends are related to the product, OEMs should think about user experience as well if they want to gain and retain clients. “The industry has taken too long to add value to its services beyond its main product (the car). For customers, the overall experience in the automotive industry is quite broken. Car sales have not changed for over 100 years and there are still many hindrances in aftersales services throughout the vehicle’s useful life time,” says Ampudia.
Adding value to the different stages of the customer experience requires a well-prepared strategy in which OEMs collaborate with the broader ecosystem. Ampudia highlights the fact that Accenture has been working closely with some OEMs in developing their customer experience strategy. “We identified key capabilities that OEMs should develop based on customer insights, end-to-end customer knowledge and future trends to transform a traditional OEM operating model to become a truly mobility company,” he says. “We also focused on how to change the way the customer lives the sale, aftersales and ownership experience, coming up with alternative sales models, including direct sales models.”
Technology is an ally when creating new experiences and for Ampudia, digitalization and analytics are key to understanding customer behavior. OEMs should focus on understanding what their customers are looking for during the sales and aftersales journey to identify ways to improve their overall experience and engagement. “Digital and emerging technologies such as augmented reality, can help in specific steps of the journey to enable both physical and digital experiences,” he says.
Considering the ongoing slowdown in the Mexican automotive market, dealerships cannot afford to lose a potential client. “OEMs and dealerships need to make their processes and structures more efficient to capture as many opportunities as possible in this winding market. They cannot miss the opportunity to provide a superb experience in every interaction with customers to increase their chances to land a sale,” says Ampudia.