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2020 Top 5 Automotive Industry Trends

2020 have seen political uncertainty, global crises and changing consumer habits. It’s proving to be an extremely unpredictable year, with many industries facing pivotal challenges during 2020.

Here are five of the biggest trends we see impacting the automotive industry:

1. Sustainability

This is a crucial issue for consumers that’s shaping the future of numerous global industries. The automotive sector is central to a more sustainable future, through the increased use of electric vehicles (EVs).

In the US during 2019, we saw consumer desire increase around electric vehicles, with days in stock averaging at just 27 in March 2019 compared to 38 the year before. The popularity of hybrids also increased with days in stock reducing from 41 to 38 during the same timeframe.

Tesla is winning the race in the online advertising and social media campaign stakes, but it isn’t just top of the range EVs that are whetting consumer appetite, with the Nissan Leaf proving a popular EV on both sides of the Atlantic.

In the UK, savings on London Congestion Charge, grants for home charging points and cost savings for businesses are amongst the reasons behind an increase in EVs. In fact in 2020, it’s expected that 100,000 pure EVs will hit UK roads.

2. Autonomous driving

The rise of EVs isn’t the only factor impacting driving habits across the world. The combination of consumer desire for vehicles away from the usual combustion engine model and the emergence of tech giants entering the space, is set to pave the way for a new way of driving. Autonomously.

A new mobility ecosystem is emerging that taps into the likes of AI and other emerging technologies. The result of this is the development of vehicles that require no human intervention. This offers individual mobility to new user groups who may have been unable to previously drive a car.

While 2020 was five years ago predicted to be the year when 10 million self-driving cars would be on the road it is thought that we will eventually see fully self-driving cars hit the roads by 2021. Watch this space.

3. Global trade

With Brexit and trade agreements between the UK and US ongoing. Trade disagreements between the US and China, as well as agreements and uncertainty with its other North American partners and the latest results from the US election, there is considerable uncertainty and now we can add the pandemic on top of that.

What does this mean for the automotive industry? Businesses like predictability and loathe volatility, the auto industry being no exception.

Market predictability is likely to be a way off yet so instead of planning for the unexpected, focus efforts on an immediate short-term business model with a 3 month rolling plan to allow for businesses to adapt in the meantime.

4. Connected cars

Cars are expected to become a third “connected place” for consumers between the workplace and home.

While increased connectivity inside the car will impact the experience for both the driver and the passengers, connecting them to the outside world also brings the possibility of cars communicating between themselves or with traffic management infrastructure. The latter should bring with it the potential to improve safety for all road users.

5. Consumer buying habits

Yes, consumer awareness around sustainability and the environmental impact of petrol and diesel vehicles is fuelling the desire for Electric and Autonomous vehicles, and it was predicted to have a direct impact on used car sales. The pandemic in 2020 brought a huge shift in auto consumers buying behaviour leading to growth in the used car market.

Many consumers are waiting for more affordable EVs to hit the market and are continuing to make do with their existing vehicles as opposed to trading them in the meantime. However, with a 49% increase in 18-34 year olds looking to access private vehicles and a 24% increase for 55 – 70 year olds there is a new market to capture.

Those that are in the market for cars are most concerned with quality, affordability and service. These are key messages that must be highlighted in the targeting and positioning of your digital advertising campaigns, while customer service (both online and offline) remains a key factor for consumers. For businesses to stand out in an unpredictable marketplace, it’s essential to cater for the ongoing needs of consumers.

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