Trends we expect to shape the auto industry in 2021

The future of the auto industry is expected to be more buyer-centric, flexible, and convenient. 

The emergence of new technologies and the switch of customer preferences towards more sustainable solutions has brought innovative changes in the automotive world. The auto sector enters a new era of industrialization with the rise of the fourth industrial revolution. We witness a shift towards emission-free vehicles by building more electric cars and charging points. Vehicle manufacturers are leveraging the latest tech advancements like big data, deep neural networks, AI, and other similar technologies to deliver products their customers require. 

Vehicles are now connected to the Internet of Things, so we expect the growing tech trends to reinforce manufacturers’ efforts to build vehicles that are more than cars. All these trends sound encouraging, but considering the present context, the auto industry may not be able to implement all technological improvements because the pandemic prevents it from remaining fully operational. With the restrictions in mind, what should we expect from 2021?

People will still find comfort in car ownership

Even if people can choose one of the many modes of transportation available (from subways to airplanes) we’ve noticed a rise in their desire to own their personal vehicles. With the threat of COVID-19 still present, people find comfort and security inside their homes and automobiles that protect them from possible virus carriers. 

Studies show that people’s attitudes toward public transportation, vehicle ownership and other mobility solutions like trains have changes in the context of the pandemic. Usage of personal cars has doubled during the last months and the reliance on shared or public transport has fallen with around 50%

But with many commuters relying on public transport to reach their jobs, this situation has triggered a rise in the number of people who want to purchase a personal vehicle. Among the people surveyed who didn’t own a car before, most stated that they intend to get one now for safety and health issues. Surveys have also reported that 20% of their respondents who didn’t’ plan to get a car they now consider buying one

Buyers expect to find vehicle deals

To prevent the pandemic from causing them to go bankrupt, many car dealers dropped prices to encourage people to make a purchase. Therefore, in 2021, car buyers expect to score good deals on the vehicles they purchase. Also, Google has reported a growth in the number of search queries like “it’s a good time to buy a car”. Modern shoppers have turned to digital resources to compare automakers, models, and offers, to ensure they get the best deal. 

The price will always be the determining factor for auto buyers, so no one should be surprised that the only way to lure buyers is to customize deals to meet their needs. Automakers are expected to respond with financing solutions for their clients. Most buyers look for no-interest financing or no-penalty payment deferments. Hyundai, for example, has created a context-appropriate program that covers up to six months of the car value if the buyer losses their job during the pandemic because of the COVID-19. 

Car buyers benefit from dealer experience closer to their homes

Because buyers move online, car dealers need to find new ways to engage with their public. Google has reported a drop in the US search interest for “dealership near me” once the pandemic has started because people no longer feel safe to leave their houses to go for shopping. In 2021, dealerships are expected to add new services to their offers. Here are the alternatives people can choose from when they don’t want to visit a local dealer.

- VR test drives

- Videoconferences

- At-home test drives

- Digital showrooms

- Review videos

Even before the pandemic some auto buyers were using social media to review cars and YouTube videos to check digital test drives. Given the current content, this trend is about to grow and dealerships to use all digital means at hand to engage their audience.      

Online car buying and home delivery

Lincoln dealership Dallas services has shifted from face-to-face transactions to digitalizing the purchase journey so that their clients to buy vehicles from their house’s comfort and safety. 92% of people already used digital means to research, so they quickly adapt to buying and paying for their products without meeting the vendor. Statistics show that 18% of people would buy a car sooner if they would have the option to purchase it online. 

Before the pandemic, a small number of car vendors offered vehicle delivery, but now with the purchase process being completed online, they have no other delivery solution. To boost sales, they should also provide at-home test drives as an alternative to visiting the local dealership. 

It’s expected 2021 to come with other social restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so consumer behavior will probably experience further changes. Auto sellers need to develop strategies to meet their public’s needs.           

More connected cars

The Internet of Things is modernizing the automobile systems by equipping cars with internet connectivity that allows the vehicles to access and send data, communicate with other devices connected to IoT, download patches and software, and provide the passengers with Wi-Fi access. People prefer connected cars because they can help them find an available parking spot, inform them when the car requires repairs, and assist them in performing specific tasks. Automakers are building connected vehicles to meet their public’s request for innovation. At present, car manufacturers produce connected auto vehicles in two ways, tethered and embedded. Tethered models use hardware that allows the driver to connect to their cars with the help of their smartphones, while embedded vehicles come with a built-in chipset and built-in antenna.

The latest trends in the automotive industry appear as a result of increasing technological advances and changing consumer requests. Vehicles take the form of mobility solutions essential in the present scenario when people need personal cars to stay healthy and slow down the virus spread. 


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