With the ‘Digital Dealership’ transforming the car-buying process and subscription services catching the interest of car retailers, 2019 looks set to be a year of disruptive innovation for the automotive industry. Here’s our take on what to expect in 2019.
A year of connectivityThe ‘Internet of Things’ will be a very common saying throughout the course of 2019. Consumers want connectivity at all times. Driving falls into this remit and you can expect the automotive industry to be largely centred around expanding the driver experience to feed the digital demands of potential customers. Car owners of 2019 want the instant reach of Alexa, music and social media from their dashboard, just as they expect in any other walk of life. Car manufacturers have recognised this consumer demand and look set to answer these desires in the design of their latest models. Hyundai have replicated Apple’s Touch ID system, developing smart fingerprint technology that will allow drivers to unlock and start a vehicle without using keys. In terms of voice recognition, BMW, Ford, and Toyota have all declared their plans to integrate Alexa into their models in 2019. You can expect to see more developments on this front throughout the year.
Car manufacturers continue to struggleWith Ford announcing cuts to over 400 jobs at Bridgend plant, Jaguar Land Rover announcing its biggest quarterly loss of £3.4bn and Honda set to lose ‘hundreds’ of temporary jobs at their Swindon plant, car manufacturers seemed destined to deal with another 12 months of headache.
FordFord have begun the first phase of a redundancy push that will see over around 400 jobs cuts at its Bridgend plant while many thousands of jobs will be released at its most struggling European operations.
Jaguar Land RoverElsewhere, Jaguar Land Rover have reported that they are cutting 4,500 jobs, with the large majority coming from their 40,000 UK employees. With refinements being made to their management structure, the large majority of the job losses will come from their office roles. The cuts come on top of last year’s 1,500 job losses. The automotive company is currently battling trading difficulties, with a drop in demand for diesel cars and a sales slowdown in China. The manufacturer made a £3.4bn pre-tax loss in the final three months of 2018 as sales dropped.
TeslaTesla have announced that they are cutting over 3,000 jobs (equivalent to 7% of its workforce). The company plan to align their production strategy and slowly move away from the niche-car market, with plans to produce an electric vehicle that more people can afford.
In a letter addressed to staff, CEO Elon Musk said: “Looking ahead at our mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy, which is important for all life on Earth, we face an extremely difficult challenge: making our cars, batteries and solar products cost-competitive with fossil fuels,” “While we have made great progress, our products are still too expensive for most people.”
Growth of the digital dealershipWith all leading automotive retailers implementing the use of augmented reality, the notorious car salesman figure is slowly fading away from the customer journey of the modern day car buyer. Traditional dealerships have had to revamp their business practices in order to entice today’s web savvy buyers, who can scour the market for the best deals, at the touch of a button. Today’s showroom is now a place customers can be educated on product information, through various compelling methods of delivery, such as video walls, touch tables and motion sensors. From the showroom or at home, AR gives consumers the chance to:
- Test drive
- Change car exterior colours and alloy options
- Find out about vehicle interior and dashboard features
- Review engine and transmission options
- Experience autonomous emergency breaking