It’s hard to think of a time when the future of the automotive industry has been less certain than it is now. (Just ask those 3,500 Honda workers in Swindon who are soon to lose their jobs.)
Desperate to get beyond the rumours and general feelings of malaise, we ran our own dedicated research see if there was any light at the end of the tunnel for car retailers.
It seems 90% of consumers plan to replace their vehicles, as expected, in 2019. This is a bold statement (and an unexpected finding), but the growing number of people using finance who are approaching the end of their current 3-year cycle makes it credible.
However, it doesn’t need us to tell you that this glimmer of hope is no grounds for complacency. Particularly when you consider a couple of trends that are starting to influence the thinking of enlightened car marketers.
Firstly, right now consumers are more hesitant than they’ve been for a long while.
The uncertain state of the economy (61% admitted that Brexit was impacting on their car buying behaviour) and the choice of powertrains (56% say they care more about fuel types now than they did this time last year) are leading to a purchasing paralysis for some consumers.
The second trend to consider is that consumers are changing.
17-35-year-olds, who we can loosely term as Millennials, are more preoccupied than any other generation with the technology featured in the cars they drive.
So much so that nearly 60% of millennial car shoppers said they’d switch brands just to get the technology features they want. (To put this in context, one in ten millennials would rather lose a finger than give up their smartphone.)
This is a hugely important opinion when you consider that, by next year, 40% of all cars sold in the UK will go to this particular group.
You’ll find facts like this, and a lot more for good measure, in our latest Automotive Insights book.