Customers are becoming more accustomed to the digital experience for car dealerships, and experts predict the increased reliance on digital will be permanent. "For digital, this whole disruptive period with corona is an inflection point from which there's no turning back," says AutoNation Chairman and CEO Mike Jackson.
Volkswagen dealerships will pivot from persuading people to buy the company's ID electric vehicles to "organizing test drives, facilitating the transaction and making sure you get the keys to your new wheels without a hitch," writes Rachel England. Consumers will order the electric vehicles online at fixed prices and will choose a dealer.
Ben Bartosch from J.D. Power Valuation Services says auto dealerships should keep a focus on certified pre-owned vehicles as business returns after the pandemic. Bartosch predicts the CPO market will hold incentives longer than in the new market.
The Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council seeks to increase automotive industry collaboration and innovation to improve in-vehicle experience, writes member Vala Afshar. It hopes to see electric vehicles accounting for nearly 1 in 4 new cars sold in 2030, along with an increase in revenue from on-demand mobility.
Tim Blochowiak from Protective Asset Protection says that finance and insurance departments will need to adapt after dealerships reopen. "Contactless transactions will continue to grow as dealer sales and F&I personnel are forced to work from home, and as consumers are wary of visiting dealerships in person," he writes.
Doug Betts, president of J.D. Power's automotive division, says auto manufacturers should streamline production by offering fewer configurations of each vehicle. "Low-volume configurations are a drag on sales performance and costs," he says.
Observers expect the use of public transportation in the US to remain lower after the pandemic, with surveys indicating some city dwellers may turn to car ownership. China's experience could offer insight: Two months after lockdown restrictions were lifted, transit ridership remained 35% below its pre-pandemic level, and sales of passenger cars rose in April.
Tim Grewe, head of GM's global electrification and battery systems, says the auto manufacturer is developing new batteries for electric vehicles. "We do have million-mile battery life, especially in shared mobility usage, in our sights and are getting great results when it comes to that," he says.
BloombergNEF's Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook sees electric vehicles' car market share increasing from 3% now to 31% by 2040, with nearly 6 in 10 new cars sold by then being EVs. The report also forecasts figures for buses, two-wheeled vehicles and light-duty commercial vehicles.