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2021 Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry

2021 Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry

April 16, 2021

The automotive sector has experienced a wide range of changes in the past year, particularly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the industry as a whole is undergoing a major transformation away from traditional manufacturing and sales strategies. Instead, 2021 technology trends in the automotive industry are taking a turn toward a more mobile, virtually connected environment.  From corporate decision-making to how automotive employees will continue to work, technology is continuing to drive the automotive sphere into the future.  Read on to learn more about the technology trends in the automotive industry that will continue to catalyze this market around the world. Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Mergers-and-Acquisitions.jpg] 1. MORE MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS The start of the pandemic created a stressful environment for automakers and retailers in 2020. While the economic decline has led to a drop in revenue among many top brands, companies have expressed an interest in collaboration to soften the blow.  For brands that have experienced these difficulties, synergizing brands could pose a creative solution that will allow continued growth, innovation, and profitability.  In 2020, automotive deal value and respective volume declined by 32%. This is a sharp change from the 18% rate the industry experienced in 2019. However, that doesn’t mean that synergistic decisions have come to a halt. Experts expect this volatility to continue into this year, but there are a few core changes in the market itself that could lead to a positive shift in alliances and joint ventures among leading and emerging names in the auto sphere. Automotive companies across virtually every corner of the market are shifting their resources to promote progressive ingenuity and corporate expansion. This includes everything from webbed acquisitions, to EV adoption, to integration into the world of driverless vehicles. In fact, 70% of the top deals conducted last year held EV and autonomous technology at the precipice. This growth wasn’t only experienced in North America and Europe, but also Asia and the Middle East as well.  As individual governments prioritize the growth of sustainable and tech-forward driving, we’re sure to see a continued influx of activity within the autonomous and electric vehicle sectors. Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Electric-Vehicle-Growth.jpg] 2. ELECTRIC VEHICLE GROWTH ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, ASIA, AND EUROPE Like previously mentioned, renewable energy is a hot-button topic among established and growing automotive companies. As more and more counties boost their requirements for emission reduction, interest in electric vehicles has grown substantially – and is sure to stick around. Europe has long been seen as the leader in renewable automotive technology, and many countries already have regulations in place to limit the use of gas-powered vehicles on the road. European governments have expressed a strong commitment to lowering CO2 emissions across the continent, which has largely driven success in the EV market. However, Asia and North America are catching up for a variety of reasons. Across the Asian continent, China continues to make up at least 90% of the market share in this growing sphere. But, that growth is expected to surge throughout the rest of the Asia-Pacific region, at a CAGR of at least 31%, over the next few years.  India, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and ASEAN countries are already building a steady interest in the growth of EV, even though manufacturing capacity is still significantly behind China.  When it comes to supply chain management and polymer development, China is helping to drive and respond to the already heavy demand for EV advancement in the region.  North America’s EV market is a bit more muddled, but there is already a saturated market demand for affordable, accessible electric vehicles – even though the region is known for its dependence on fossil fuels. Popular brands that are already offering EV models in the 2021 marketplace include: * American Honda Motor Company * BMW North America * Ford Motor Company * Tesla Motors * Volkswagen Group of America * Volvo Group North America * Jaguar Land Rover Limited Due to the increasing demand for efficient and easily attainable electric cars and trucks, plus the current American administration’s push for plentiful charging stations, more drivers across the continent are considering adding an electric vehicle to their fleet. Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/EV-Platforms-and-Start-Ups.jpg] 3. EV PLATFORMS AND START-UPS  Big Box brands like Tesla, BMW, and Ford might be making news in the EV and tech development realms, but startups are also creating noise in both segments of the automotive sector.  In response to growing consumer demand for smart and efficient consumer vehicles, these startups show a high level of potential in the 2021 market and beyond: * Tangram * Hey Charge * Fibre Coat * Harpocrates * blackshark.ai * Surge Analytics * Eve Autonomy While COVID-19 has heavily impacted the success of auto sales around the globe, this change has led to the widespread integration of technology throughout the entire production process.  From initial ideation to the showroom, artificial intelligence and immersive media is helping auto brands, developers, and customers to connect like never before. This shift toward tech in the automotive industry has helped retailers and buyers stay active during 2020’s economic downturn, while also shifting the public’s perception of smart capabilities in private transportation.  AI is being used by leading car companies to help consumers find their ideal vehicle, make the driving experience safer, protect their new investment, and more. With just a smartphone and a data connection, consumers can: * Purchase and finance a vehicle online * Manipulate customizations via digital renders * Lock, unlock and track their car * Check vehicle metrics and specs in real-time * Safely manage navigation, entertainment, and maintenance information * Drive more efficiently by utilizing machine learning and AR sensors simultaneously Additionally, the integration of tech in electric vehicles makes it easier to locate charging points, monitor charge levels, and even control features in the car in a truly hands-free way. Startups in the automotive industry have taken notice of these trends, and are incorporating consumer trends to create products that meet industry specifications, local regulations, and buyer demand. Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Self-Driving-Cars.jpg] 4. SELF-DRIVING CARS Tesla has been the primary autonomous vehicle provider in recent years, but a wide range of retailers and brands are jumping onto this bandwagon. As a result, 2021 is shaping up to be the biggest year for self-driving cars.  Multiple industries, from solar to 5G connectivity, are helping to drive this growth. Autonomous vehicles are no longer a pipe dream for wealthy tech moguls and sci-fi fanatics. In fact, the growth of self-driving cars is creating a zero-based ownership model that could open the roads to more consumers than ever before.  Eliminating the human element from the driving process has the potential to make roads safer and more efficient, largely by eliminating distractions in the same stroke.  Driverless vehicles, or robotaxis, could become the new normal in addition to self-driving consumer cars. Waymo, one of the primary providers in this sphere, took more than 100,000 trips in 2019 alone. Last year, this number climbed to more than 5% of the public market share among robotaxis – or 6.1 million miles on the road. Since the technology is so new, there is limited data available regarding accident prevention and other safety information. But, self-driving public rideshare services show strong potential for reducing accidents, traffic stoppages, and other hindrances on the road. Although Waymo was the first company to launch this type of semi-public transit, more and more brands are seeing the demand for simplified, safer autonomous travel.  Those who want to own a piece of this technology have more options, as well. In addition to Tesla, these brands plan to offer some form of self-driving capabilities for mainstream consumers in 2021: * Ford * BMW * Alphabet * Voyage * Pony.ai * Volvo This technology is far from perfect, but it could create a piece of the automotive market that’s ideal for busy commuters, groups, and long-haul travelers all at the same time. Technology Trends in the Automotive Industry [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Micromobilty-Trumps-Mass-Public-Transit.jpg] 5. MICROMOBILTY TRUMPS MASS PUBLIC TRANSIT Have you noticed that a variety of bicycles, scooters, and other small-scale transportation methods are popping up in cities around the world? While on your daily commute, lunch break, or shopping run you’ve likely come across a group of branded, cell phone-enabled micro vehicles on most busy street corners. Micromobility is the next wave of public transportation, and this movement has the potential to supersede standard mass transit in the near future.  Rather than opting for the train or bus, individual travelers can activate a single-occupant vehicle to get from point A to point B.  Common types of micromobility include: * E-bikes * Standard bikes * Motorized scooters * E-scooters * Skateboard lock stations * Ultra-compact EV units * Segways * Hoverboards Whether you’re looking for a daily method of transportation or you want to explore the area on your weekend vacation, micromobility removes a lot of the stress that comes with getting around.  This form of travel eliminates the need for costly parking, expensive vehicle rates and insurances, and even a driver’s license in some cases. Additionally, it’s proven to be the ideal solution for social distancing while maintaining standard travel rates during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Rather than owning the vehicle outright, users instead are able to connect to a publicly housed unit using an app on their smartphone and a connected method of payment. Leading companies are able to take payment information online including credit cards, mobile wallets, and even cryptocurrencies. As a result, users are able to pick up any charged units that are available in public spaces, and they can typically drop off the vehicles wherever they see fit.  Certain options, like microcars and some bicycles, need to be left in designated areas. However, comprehensive mobile apps and account-based connectivity make it easy to find the closest drop off area or the nearest available rental unit with information like: * Charge level  * Driving proximity * Drop-off options * Session duration Micromobility has also proven to be more efficient than comparable transportation methods, in a few different ways. Compared to the personal use of vehicles, electric scooters and bicycles produce virtually no emissions – and these services don’t rely on the use of fossil fuels. Both individual and shared micromobility options are also more efficient than shared mass transit vehicles, including subways, trains, and busses. Personal consumers aren’t the only people being marketed to by these growing tech giants. Delivery staff and couriers can use this same technology to continue to work when renting or buying a personal car or truck is not feasible. For private individuals who only want to use a vehicle on an as-needed basis, micromobility solutions are a commitment-free option.  In 2019, one of the top e-scooter companies achieved more than 50 million trips in just two years following their launch in 2017. Now, there are dozens of brands on the market. Between scooter, bike, and similar services, usage among micromobility consumers has risen by more than 9% compared to pre-pandemic levels. With much of the world committing to a low-emission lifestyle, to be in effect as early as 2030, micromobility could be the best way for mainstream consumers to bridge the gap. Where walking and rollerskating isn’t feasible, electric options like scooters and e-bikes can allow individuals to travel longer distances without the cost, waste, or hassle of traditional methods.  Does this mean that consumers are not interested in purchasing standard vehicles? Absolutely not. But, micromobility is a sound solution for those who are outside of the margins set by auto brands and retailers across the board. Technology is changing the way we live, and the way we get around. While much of the world is still operating online, it’s just a matter of time before roads and travel pathways are just as bustling as before. To respond to the increased need for interconnected smart devices, accessible travel, and eco-friendly transportation – technology is proving to be the tipping point for consumers across virtually every target demographic. These technology trends in the automotive industry are setting the tone for consumers across the new, pre-owned, and shared public segments of the market.

The Future of Car Safety

The Future of Car Safety

April 15, 2021

Cars didn’t always include seat belts. Some even remember when back seat passengers only had to use a lap belt; eventually, shoulder straps became the norm throughout the car. Moms once held babies in the front seat, but soon car seats became standard (and part of the law). Technology’s evolution also has influenced car safety features. The future of car safety may include some incredibly high-tech offerings. But even today’s vehicles feature technology that would have seriously impressed older generations. Buckle up and let’s check out today’s safety features and what the future might have in store for a safer ride. The Future of Car Safety [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Dangers-on-the-Road.jpg] WHEN CARS COLLIDE: A LOOK AT DANGERS ON THE ROAD Car accidents can happen for so many reasons: driver error, distractions, a medical emergency, or even the weather. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 33,654 fatal car accidents in 2018, and, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 2,800 individuals were killed because of distracted driving that same year. In 2019, the deaths for distracted driving increased slightly, with distractions behind the deaths of 3,142 individuals. As smartphones have pervaded our culture and hitched a ride in most vehicles, the issue of distracted driving has become more prominent. It isn’t uncommon to see someone on their cell phone while driving, and texting while driving also contributes to distractions. Public service campaigns have tried to raise awareness of the issue, and phone manufacturers have even equipped phones with functions that disable the phone during the drive. However, cars and automotive safety features might also be adapting to help make the drive safer. The Future of Car Safety [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Safety-Needs-of-a-Wired-World.jpg] HOW VEHICLES ADAPTED TO THE SAFETY NEEDS OF A WIRED WORLD Automotive manufacturers understand that we live in a wired world. When almost all teens have access to a smartphone, the device has seemingly become the norm. Teens and older adults alike have become so dependent on their phones that some even develop a Fear of Missing Out (or FOMO) when their phones aren’t accessible. The smartphone is the gateway to communication. The phone allows users to text, send email, surf the internet, play games, stream music and videos and update our social media accounts. Most modern smartphones even have built-in rulers, they can monitor health data (like steps per day) and include a calendar to track all those daily appointments. The smartphone is everything rolled into one, and this is why most adults can’t often easily part with it…not even in the car. While the statistics related to distracted driving remain concerning, car manufacturers are stepping up the safety game as they embed vehicles with unique technologies that keep drivers and passengers safer during the drive. While talking or having a conversation in general can be a distraction, the act of reaching for a phone or holding it up to the ear might be more concerning while trying to navigate. Many modern vehicles, though, now allow the smartphone to connect to the car’s infotainment screen. Drivers can make calls hands-free using voice commands. They can also send texts and stream music without touching their phone. Fender benders in parking lots are all too common. So are little scrapes and bumps when cars are trying to back out of a tight parking spot. Manufacturers, likely noting how common even little accidents occur, began to equip vehicles with cameras that provide visual aid and guidance to drivers who might be lacking in depth perception. Backup and front end cameras show the surrounding areas of the car via a screen in the car’s infotainment system. Augmented reality grid lines detail the car’s turning radius, so drivers can predict their maneuvers. In addition, warning signals might sound if the car gets too close to an obstacle while parking or maneuvering. Camera intelligence allows drivers to see what might have been hidden and adjust their movements accordingly. Many vehicles also include automatic stop functions when a car comes to close to an obstacle like another car. The car doesn’t wait for the driver to react, instead the sensors signal to the car to immediately stop. In this way, the car’s safety system allows accidents to be avoided. CALLING FOR HELP Even with the best safety features, accidents may still happen. Some crashes may result in the driver losing consciousness, unable to call for help. Many vehicles now include safety systems like OnStar that not only alert drivers of potential mechanical problems with their car but call for emergency help when necessary. When a crash occurs, OnStar’s sensors detect the accident and the system calls for help. The Future of Car Safety [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/shutterstock_1232842306.jpg] BABY IN THE BACKSEAT In 2020, 24 children died from heatstroke after being left in a vehicle. Leaving a baby or a young child in the backseat has become a common fear among parents. Today’s cars now include a warning message that appears on the car’s infotainment system after the driver shuts off the ignition. There also might be a warning signal that sounds along with the message. Typically the screen will include a reminder to check the backseat. These messages and reminders are just another way that car manufacturers are adjusting to the needs of consumers. Hopefully, the warnings will decrease the likelihood that a parent forgets a child in the backseat. AUTOMATIC PARKING Not every driver is proficient in perfect parking. For some, parallel parking may be a near impossibility. One of the newer safety features in cars is automatic parking. This autonomous feature is a bit like a self-driving car, only the car just maneuvers into a parking spot. Unfortunately, the system isn’t completely autonomous. According to MotorTrend, the driver still has to manage the brake and gas functions. However, the car will maneuver into that tight space. Even better? Once the parking function is activated, the car can find the parking spot, too! SAFETY FEATURES OF THE FUTURE Technology evolves, and every consumer understands how quickly technology becomes outdated. The safety functions in today’s cars will likely seem prehistoric in a few years. So what will future safety features look like in tomorrow’s vehicles? We mention Nissan’s Invisible-to Visible (I2V) technology often. However, when it comes to predicting future safety components of automobiles, Nissan’s developing technology could be a good road map. Through I2V, drivers would be alerted of obstacles up ahead (or seemingly hidden). This obviously could reduce the possibility of an accident. I2V also would let drivers connect with others in the ‘metaverse.’ Friends or family could join the journey as an avatar. In an abstract sense, this could improve safety as it would allow friends to keep drivers from nodding off or help them remain upbeat on the drive. Professional driving instructors also could appear in the car to help during the journey, too. Modern car designs also include heads-up displays that integrate augmented reality data. This technology could become the norm, with drivers being shown directions before their eyes via augmented reality overlays. There also are stories detailing Apple’s patent for an augmented reality windshield. The patent talks about drivers FaceTiming in the car (an autonomous vehicle). THE SELF-DRIVING CAR The ultimate car safety feature of the future is likely going to be the self-driving (autonomous) car. However, it may be some time for manufacturers to develop a safe autonomous vehicle that is appropriate for the consumer market. Robotaxis are, however, being tested in multiple cities. A self-driving car might be considered the ultimate in safety because it eliminates human error. A safe self-driving car, though, would need to be able to predict every type of driving scenario and adjust without hesitation. Think about a blinking stop light and how many drivers have no idea whose turn it is to pass through the light. When technology (even a simple stop light) glitches, a tiny issue can result in chaos. Ideally, a self-driving car would include many built-in safety components and driver comforts, too. Seat belts would likely still be necessary (accidents could be rare, but they would likely still happen). Cars may be equipped with a full body of sensors and cameras. Perhaps cars connect to satellites for additional navigation data. When will a self-driving car become a reality? It could be years for such a car to hit the consumer market. We will likely experience the robotaxi or other autonomous e-hail services first, and this could be a predictor for how these types of vehicles will fare. The self-driving car might simply be a ‘when’ not an ‘if.’ Too many tech giants are scrambling to perfect this type of vehicle, and it might be the future of the highways. Perhaps it might be better to ask who or which company will be the first to perfect a safe and reliable autonomous vehicle. Will it be Tesla? For now, the industry will continue to evolve with technology. Safety features may continue to adapt to drivers’ needs and more advanced safety systems may be integrated in the future. Just don’t expect cars to drive themselves just yet…although, they may be able to park without a human!

Take a Spin around an Automotive Virtual Showroom App

Take a Spin around an Automotive Virtual Showroom App

April 12, 2021

Shopping and browsing for a new car at home is easier than ever. The internet and technology has changed shopping for the better, and even hunting for the perfect car can be done without getting off the couch. While some shoppers might prefer browsing in the dealership, dealerships might still limit capacity because of Covid. Beginning the shopping process online via virtual showroom apps could help buyers figure out what they want in their new wheels. Virtual showroom apps transport shoppers into a tech-centric space that digitally replicates the in-person showroom; these apps could be available from manufacturers or via companies like RelayCars. Ready to go on a virtual hunt for a new car? Let’s take a spin around an automotive virtual showroom app to understand the features and how it compares to a real-world experience. WHAT IS A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM? For those unfamiliar with virtual reality and augmented reality, the term ‘virtual showroom’ might be a bit confusing. Do you need goggles? Or a headset? There are many iterations of the virtual and augmented reality showroom. These experiences are not unique to the automotive industry. In fact, many retail industries use them, too, as a way to enhance the user experience during online shopping and to better aid shoppers in finding the right products. While augmented reality uses graphic overlays on top of a real-world environment, virtual reality showrooms and experiences exist in a separate and digitized realm. The user experiences a product or service in a virtual environment. Some virtual reality showrooms may require the use of glasses, goggles, or a headset. IKEA offers a virtual reality showroom experience in their store for shoppers to virtually create their own kitchen. And, yes, a headset is required. One of the crazier features of the experience is that users can shrink down to the size of a child during the experience; this lets them see the kitchen the way their child might. Plus, as IKEA points out, shrinking down could let parents find potential issues that might be a safety concern. Other virtual reality showrooms can be accessed via an online portal or an app; no headsets may be required. RelayCars offers a virtual reality app that allows car shoppers to preview different cars in a virtual realm. For the RelayCars app, users don’t need to own or use a headset or special glasses/goggles. Users can simply download the app via Google Play (for Android) or the App Store (for Apple. So what’s so special about an automotive virtual reality showroom? Let’s take RelayCars for a spin…and discover the features and virtual vehicles that users can explore. WHAT IS A VIRTUAL CAR? Virtual Car® is a trademark owned by Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The term was actually trademarked decades ago (1997). In the context of Enterprise, the idea of a ‘virtual’ vehicle meant something very different than what we might think of today. Now the idea of a ‘virtual’ vehicle brings to mind pixelated images or a holographic design. These images of simulated automobiles are used in virtual showroom apps to allow users to see and interact with a vehicle from any location. Virtual images cannot be touched in a tactile sense. However, in the realm of the virtual space, users can peek inside vehicles and change paint hues, too. The vehicles presented in a virtual showroom are scaled models of the actual vehicle. Obviously, the screen cannot capture a life-size image of the car. It can show users a smaller version with all the same features. HOW DO I CREATE A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM? To create the RelayCars virtual showroom on a phone, users will need to download the app. The showroom also can be accessed online on the RelayCars website. No special software is required once the app is on a device. That is, users don’t have to do anything but open up the app and begin exploring. The simplicity of the app makes it ideal for dealerships that may not have their own online virtual showroom. Dealerships can recommend the app to customers who want to explore cars online before coming into the physical location. Virtual Showroom App [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Virtual-Showroom-App-1.jpg] CAN YOU ACTUALLY CLICK ‘BUY’ IN A VIRTUAL SHOWROOM APP? For the past year, retail and the shopping process have been dramatically different thanks to Covid. Many shoppers are now accustomed to web-centric shopping, and some consumers might have grown to prefer online shopping. While some dealerships might have offered an almost fully remote car shopping experience, not all consumers might have been comfortable completing the entire process online. When navigating virtual showroom apps, though, those who are comfortable remotely purchasing a car may be curious if these virtual showroom apps are the portal to the entire shopping experience. Virtual Showroom App [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Virtual-Showroom-App-2.jpg] ARE THESE APPS DISRUPTING THE INDUSTRY? Augmented reality and virtual reality may be disrupting the automotive industry. Technology can shake up sectors, and this shake-up might simply lead to adaptation and change within an industry. With technology like augmented and virtual reality, manufacturers and dealerships can use the virtual realm to market cars to a wide range of buyers. Some of these virtual experiences can be incredibly unique and appealing to consumers, and the entertainment or novelty of the experience might even introduce consumers to new cars that they might not have discovered before. RelayCars lets users browse from an expansive list of vehicles, opening up consumers to explore makes and models from any device. Even if the consumer doesn’t have the budget or interest in purchasing a luxury vehicle like an Alfa Romeo, they can still explore all the models from the manufacturer via the virtual showroom. In this way, vehicles can be accessible to a wide audience; there is no pressure from a sales force. Consumers are free to explore any car they wish…from the comfort of home. With RelayCars virtual showroom, consumers can change the vantage point of the automobile to see it from every angle. Want to see the model in a different hue? Change out the paint job. Peek at the interior and see what it looks like in the back seat. Users are free to explore! This virtual exploration could lead to setting goals for a dream car. Or it could simply lead to the consumer finding the car they want and need for their current lifestyle. Virtual showrooms, though, are pressure-free. And, yes, they can make the car-shopping process a true adventure. WILL IN-PERSON SHOPPING BECOME OBSOLETE? Will virtual and augmented reality completely upend the car shopping process as an in-person experience? While anything is possible, and no one knows what the future holds, there may continue to be a desire for in-person car buying. Typically, shoppers would visit several dealerships and check out a few car models that interest them. At the dealership, shoppers could sit in and explore many models on the lot before finding their dream car. The dealership provides consumers with the option to play with different features and better understand how the car may fit or not fit their lifestyle. Some tall buyers might discover that a certain model doesn’t work for their height. Maybe the car is just too compact; sitting in the vehicle could have been the game-changer. The car shopping experience is a process, and many consumers visit multiple dealerships. According to the 2019 Cox Automotive Car Buyer Journey study, those who purchased a new car visited 2.3 dealerships. In 2017, though, it was reported that individuals went to nearly three dealerships (2.7). Even before the pandemic, online shopping was a part of the process; the study reported that more than half of the car buying process (61 percent) was spent online. Nissan is on top of the virtual trend and now offers a remote shopping and buying option. Nissan@Home was announced in December 2020; according to CNET, it allows consumers to find a car online, schedule a test drive, sign all the paperwork virtually and have the car delivered. This type of offering could be the future. When visiting the Nissan@Home site, consumers can click a button that allows them to begin building their new car. There’s also the option via the site to check out the inventory and see payment estimates. Will more companies offer similar experiences? Perhaps. As Covid disrupted the industry, consumers could simply be more comfortable shifting to a remote experience. Younger buyers may already prefer this option, although many consumers may still like the in-person experience. Even before Covid, more than half of the shopping process was online. Virtual showrooms add to the buying research tools available to consumers. With apps like RelayCars, consumers can explore as many vehicles as they want. This could help them zero in on the best models for their budget and lifestyle. While Covid and technology have disrupted the automotive industry, this disruption could be in favor of the consumer. More online tools can aid the buyer during the hunt, but a virtual shopping experience also can help buyers take their time with the shopping process. There is no worry about wasting a salesperson’s time or feeling pressured to make a decision. Online tools let consumers browse at their leisure, and this could mean that those dealership visits become more mindful–a win for both the consumer and the sales team.

5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030

5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030

April 7, 2021

The electric vehicle market reached a major milestone in 2019 when combined annual sales passed the 2 million mark for the first time. Experts predicted that electric vehicles would continue to build off of this success in 2020. But the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the entire automotive industry, including the electric vehicle sector. Despite last year’s challenges, the electric vehicle market still has a bright future ahead. How quickly will the electric market grow? What will drive the growth in this market? What should automotive consumers expect when shopping for an electric vehicle in the future? Here is what experts believe will happen in the electric vehicle market by 2030: ELECTRIC VEHICLE GROWTH BY MARKET Experts predict that the electric vehicle market will experience a compound annual growth rate of 29% over the next decade. This means annual electric vehicle sales will increase from 2.5 million units in 2020 to over 31 million units by 2030, which would account for 32% of all new automotive sales. The electric vehicle market is expected to grow faster in certain markets. According to industry experts, electric vehicles could secure nearly half of the domestic market share in China by 2030. However, electric vehicles are only expected to secure about 27% of the automotive domestic market share in the U.S.  The electric vehicle market will grow faster in Northern and Western European countries compared to Southern and Eastern European countries. This is because the former countries have more resources to invest in infrastructure and offer to consumers and businesses as financial rewards for purchasing new electric vehicles. By 2030, experts believe that China will hold just under half of the global electric vehicle market share, followed by Europe, which will secure 27% of the global market share, and the U.S., which will hold 14%. 5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Change-in-Consumer-Attitude.jpg] CHANGE IN CONSUMER ATTITUDE Experts believe that one of the main driving factors fueling the growth of the electric vehicle market in the years ahead will be a change in consumer attitudes. The Deloitte Global Auto Consumer Study measured consumers’ attitudes toward electric vehicles in 2018 and 2020. This study revealed that consumers have a number of concerns about purchasing an electric vehicle, including the cost, limited driving range, the time required to fully charge, and lack of public chargers. However, the study also revealed that most of these concerns are slowly starting to fade away. For example, 26% of U.S. consumers cited cost as their number one concern related to electric vehicles in 2018. But in 2020, this number dropped to only 18%. Concerns related to the cost of electric vehicles diminished in other countries, including France, where it dropped from 32% in 2018 to 22% in 2020. Consumer concerns related to a limited driving range also diminished in a number of countries, including France, Germany, UK, and China, where it dropped from 25% in 2018 to 22% in 2020. This doesn’t mean that consumers are completely on board with the idea of purchasing an electric vehicle. Other concerns, such as lack of public charging equipment, grew over this two-year period in France, Germany, UK, China, and the U.S. However, the data shows that it is possible to change consumers’ minds in as little as two years.  Automotive manufacturers may want to consider investing in marketing campaigns aimed to educate consumers on electric vehicles. These campaigns could address these concerns and help consumers see electric vehicles in a completely different light.   Experts predict that seeing more electric vehicles on the roads could help consumers get past their initial concerns. Over the next decade, many consumers will travel in electric vehicles owned by their family members or friends, ride in electric buses used for public transportation, and see electric vans or trucks used for commercial purposes. Seeing and experiencing electric vehicles on a regular basis could help consumers view them more favorably. As these concerns continue to fade in the years ahead, more consumers may start to see the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. This shift in consumer sentiment could lead to significant growth in the electric vehicle market. 5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Government-Intervention.jpg] GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION Another factor that could impact the electric vehicle market is government intervention. Several different policies and regulations established by government agencies could impact the future of the electric vehicle market, including: * Fuel Economy and Emission Goals * State-Level Bans * New Financial Incentives * COVID-19 Recovery Plans FUEL ECONOMY AND EMISSION GOALS Many countries have recently set fuel economy and emission goals in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and minimize the impact of climate change.  For example, the European Union (EU) set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030. To reach this goal, the EU established average emission targets for all new cars, trucks, and vans manufactured in 2020 or later.  Manufacturers that produce vehicles that exceed this emissions target could face steep fines. In fact, a recent analysis revealed that automotive manufacturers could face over $3.7 billion in fines in 2021 due to this new regulation. Experts predict that automotive manufacturers will begin to invest heavily in increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles in order to avoid these annual fines. A significant portion of this investment could go toward the production of electric vehicles. Thus, this government regulation could have a direct impact on the electric vehicle market. STATE-LEVEL BANS Several states in the U.S. have introduced legislation that would ban the sale of vehicles with combustion engines.  For example, Washington’s Clean Cars 2030 Act would prohibit the sale of any passenger vehicle with a combustion engine manufactured in 2030 or later. If it passes, this legislation could leave Washington residents with no other choice but to buy electric vehicles beginning in 2030. Washington isn’t the only state that is taking action to promote electric vehicles. Last year, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation that will phase out the sale of gasoline-powered vehicles in the state by 2035. This type of legislation could boost the electric vehicle market over the next several decades. NEW FINANCIAL INCENTIVES  Some governments now offer automotive consumers financial incentives for choosing electric vehicles over gas-powered vehicles.  In France, for example, consumers who purchase electric vehicles receive a financial incentive of up to $8,000. Automotive consumers in the U.S., on the other hand, could qualify for a tax credit of up to $7,500 for purchasing a new electric vehicle.  The German government also incentivizes the purchase of electric vehicles by offering consumers a lower value-added tax (VAT) on all low-emission vehicles. Many consumers may be motivated to purchase electric vehicles instead of gas-powered vehicles just so they can take advantage of these financial incentives. COVID-19 RECOVERY PLANS Many governments are passing recovery plans that are designed to help consumers and the economy as a whole bounce back from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The details of these plans could impact the future of the electric vehicle market. For example, Germany recently passed a $146 billion COVID-19 recovery plan. About $2.8 billion of this budget is being invested in electric vehicle infrastructure.  China is another country that is incorporating an investment into electric vehicles into its COVID-19 recovery plan. In China, about $378 million of the COVID-19 recovery plan budget is going toward electric vehicle infrastructure.  Funding the development of electric vehicle infrastructure could lead to the widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the near future. 5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/New-Electric-Vehicle-Models.jpg] NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE MODELS There are currently only a handful of players in the electric vehicle market. Tesla, which has a market share of approximately 16%, is considered the market leader. But a number of new competitors could emerge over the next decade that could shake up the electric vehicle market. In 2019, automotive manufacturers launched a total of 143 new electric vehicles. But industry analysts predict that over 450 new electric vehicle models will launch by the end of 2022.  Many automotive manufacturers have already announced that they plan to commit significant resources to the production of electric vehicles over the next few years. Some of the strategic electric vehicle goals set by automotive manufacturers include: * Mazda will release its first electric vehicle by the end of 2021. The company plans on making only electric or hybrid vehicles by the early 2030s. * Toyota has set an electric vehicle sales goal of 30,000 units for 2021. * Fiat Chrysler plans on releasing at least 30 new electric vehicles by the end of 2022. * BMW will release at least 25 new electric vehicles by 2023. * Ford will invest $11.5 billion in electric vehicles and add 40 electric vehicles to its global portfolio by the end of 2022. * General Motors has set an electric vehicle sales goal of 1 million units by 2025. * Volvo would like electric vehicles to account for 50% of all global sales by 2025. * Hyundai will invest $87 billion in electric vehicles and introduce 44 new electric vehicle models by 2025. * Honda would like electric vehicles to account for two-thirds of its global sales by the year 2030. Experts believe that automotive manufacturers are truly committed to meeting these ambitious targets. If so, this means that there will be a major shift toward the production of electric vehicles in the automotive industry over the next 10 years.  It could also mean that automotive consumers will have far more electric vehicle options to choose from. This could lead to an increase in sales since there may be an electric vehicle to meet the needs of every type of automotive consumer.  Since the marketplace will become increasingly competitive, automotive manufacturers may need to launch aggressive marketing campaigns to win over electric consumers. Some of these marketing campaigns may focus on converting existing gas-powered vehicle customers to electric vehicle customers. But others may focus on converting new customers to electric vehicle customers instead.  It’s important to note that the goals listed above were set by established players in the automotive industry. But a number of new companies that solely produce electric vehicles may enter the automotive industry over the next decade. Not all of these companies will succeed, but the ones that do could potentially disrupt the electric vehicle market. CORPORATE SUPPORT Corporations have always played a big role in the automotive industry. For instance, businesses currently account for about 63% of all new automotive sales in Western European countries. But experts predict that corporations will start to use their purchasing power to drive growth in the electric vehicle market in the years ahead. Many companies are trying to differentiate themselves from their competitors by taking a stance on social causes, including climate change. Experts believe that many corporations will begin supporting the shift to electric vehicles in an effort to show the public that they are serious about mitigating the effects of climate change. But this isn’t the only reason why companies may start to show more support for electric vehicles over the next decade. It costs about $0.10 per mile to fuel a gas-powered vehicle, but it only costs about $0.03 per mile to fuel an electric vehicle. Switching to electric vehicles can help companies that utilize commercial fleets save thousands of dollars on fuel expenses every year.  Companies that run commercial fleets can also save money on maintenance costs by switching to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are designed with fewer parts than gas-powered vehicles. Plus, they don’t require fluid replacement services. For these reasons, electric vehicles are easier and less expensive to maintain than gas-powered vehicles. 5 Things to Expect in the Electric Vehicle Market By 2030 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/financial-incentives.jpg] Companies could also receive financial incentives for supporting the switch to electric vehicles. For example, the city of Pasadena offers companies up to $50,000 for installing electric vehicle chargers in public areas.  Some businesses could also qualify for financial incentives provided by the government simply by switching to electric vehicles. Businesses in the UK, for instance, may be able to save up to £3,000 on the purchase of a small electric van and up to  £6,000 on the purchase of a large electric van. If the corporate world switches to electric vehicles in the next decade, not only will this directly lead to an increase in global electric vehicle sales, but it may also inspire consumers to follow their lead. It’s too early to measure the accuracy of these predictions. But if experts are right, manufacturers, dealers, and other parties in the automotive industry must start to prepare for the rise in popularity of electric vehicles.

How AR Cars are Changing the Automotive Market in 2021

How AR Cars are Changing the Automotive Market in 2021

March 26, 2021

From social media to gaming and everything in between, augmented reality is becoming a digital mainstay in our everyday lives. As we’ve learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, digitization is here to stay and that means innovation is expanding this sphere more rapidly than ever. Automotive brands have also increased their use of this revolutionary form of immersive media, and AR cars are becoming the new norm across virtually every corner of the car sales market.  Tools such as assistive driving technology, truly hands-free entertainment, safer navigation programs, and even parking guidance – the possibilities are truly endless for the use of augmented reality in cars. No matter what you’re shopping for or how you plan to spend your time behind the wheel, see why AR cars are going to be found on streets across the globe in no time at all. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-exactly-is-AR.jpg] WHAT EXACTLY IS AR? In short, augmented reality is a type of immersive technology that allows users to view digital images, sounds, or text over their real-life line of sight. Whether someone uses a smartphone, tablet, wearable device, or integrated technology (like what is used in cars, virtual showrooms, and controlled environments), it’s possible to combine one’s internet life with what they’re seeing and experiencing in real-time.  Since 2016, augmented reality has been a staple in the digital world. Now, this technology can be found across social media apps, advertisements, and even in-store shopping experiences.  In most cases, the user simply needs a mobile or otherwise internet-connected device to access the apps and programs that facilitate AR media.  However, there are a variety of different ways that commercial and consumer users can use AR in their daily lives. Automotive brands are using multiple avenues to bring AR technology to the mainstream market, including the following methods. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-are-the-different-types-of-AR.jpg] WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF AR? Augmented reality is most widely known through social media filters and online overlays. But, there are four key types of AR technology that are being applied in the automotive sector. The four main forms of AR include: 1. Marker-based AR 2. Projection AR 3. Marker-less AR 4. Superimposition-based AR Depending on the applications and needs defined by the software function, each option provides different benefits and limitations.  MARKER-BASED AR Also known as recognition AR, this method uses cameras to identify and focus on specific objects. By building a digital profile around objects that appear before these cameras in real-time, the AR system is able to learn about said object using various angles.  By manipulating and analyzing objects digitally, AR cars can refer to the identified items to make decisions in regard to movement and directional planning. 3D imagery can be read by the AR app to help the car apply this information into alerts, navigational commands, and communication between the car and driver (or other cars on the road). PROJECTION AR Projection augmented reality is one of the simplest forms of the technology and is often used in cars to provide a fully hands-free experience for everyone in the cab. Using the projection of light onto a surface, such as a dashboard or road, projection AR is able to create deception for the orientation, position, and even depth of objects that are in front of the user’s viewpoint.  This has already been used in cars for a few years to prevent distracted driving and subsequent accidents as a result. MARKER-LESS AR Instead of using cameras and sensors to discover and analyze objects, marker-less augmented reality uses location data from a connected device to make decisions. Using the GPS system in a mobile phone, tablet, or automobile, this form of AR connectivity reads data that is being provided by the accelerometer and digital compass to survey surrounding objects. SUPERIMPOSITION-BASED AR Just like Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go, superimposition AR is essentially a digital replacement of physical objects that are in the focus of the device user. By replacing part or all of the user’s view with a digital object, users can truly merge their digital and practical lives without skipping a beat. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/How-do-AR-cars-work.jpg] HOW DO AR CARS WORK? Augmented reality in cars is a multifaceted technology that facilitates a variety of functions for drivers, passengers, and even those who are outside of the vehicles. This addition to the dash or windshield is changing how automobiles interact with each other, as well as the objects and people they could encounter while on the road. AR in cars can include any of the following virtual and hybrid digital capabilities: * Projection of dashboard metrics, navigation directions, and even upcoming traffic changes on the road * Hands-free entertainment for drivers and passengers * Accident and construction alerts using proximity sensors * Car-to-car signaling with potential to prevent bottlenecks and accidents By accessing this necessary information via built-in computer technology, drivers no longer need to use their phones or other mobile devices to check the weather, traffic patterns, construction updates, navigation, or even their music apps. This is helping automobiles to make the roads safer and more efficient in a few different ways.  Additionally, real-time alerts in the driver’s direct line of sight give everyone on the road more time to react to spontaneous incidents. If a pedestrian runs into the road, or a tree falls suddenly, sensors that surround the perimeter of the vehicle can notify connected drivers instantly. By highlighting objects that could cause harm to drivers and bystanders, AR is making driving safer for everyone on the streets – including pedestrians, cyclists, and oncoming traffic. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AR IN CARS? While consumer-facing market research suggests that more buyers are going to be looking for AR features in new cars, this level of interest is also creating a buzz amongst sellers and corporate entities. This technology is also being used heavily behind the scenes to make automobile production cheaper, safer, and more adaptable to ongoing digital changes. Throughout the supply chain, AR apps and programs have made it easier than ever for remote technicians, dealers, and consumers to connect online. This has driven commerce significantly during the pandemic, while also helping tech-forward brands to grow amid a global economic downturn.  For drivers, AR in cars can help with navigating throughout unknown areas, choosing the best routes based on live feedback, and even parking assistance using the vehicle’s sensors for spatial awareness.  In minutes, a driver can head to their chosen destination while being directed to the closest parking area. Parallel parking anxiety can be a thing of the past, as smart sensors survey the exact movements needed to fit into any given space. Additionally, interconnectivity between individual vehicles has high potential to reduce road accidents, rubbernecking, and other driving dangers by alerting drivers of upcoming obstacles as they appear on the road. Removing the communication barrier that’s presented by hand-held apps and programs could be the single most effective change since many accidents are caused by distracted driving. Nearly 400,000 accidents are caused every year as a result of distractions like handheld devices. From safety to convenience, drivers and retailers are capitalizing on this digital development to widen the consumer net across the entire automotive industry. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/What-are-some-examples-of-practical-AR-use-in-automotive.jpg] WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF PRACTICAL AR USE IN AUTOMOTIVE? Did you know that the computers in your car can help the vehicle operate more efficiently, from choosing the right roads to maximizing fuel consumption? Throughout the entire machine, there are cameras, sensors, and computerized elements that can communicate to make every trip better than the last. AR technology is no different, and this form of mixed media is being used by many major manufacturers including: * Mercedes-Benz * Toyota * Lexus * Jaguar * BMW * Volvo * MINI * Chevrolet Features such as automatic AR adaptation and hands-free commands can make driving easier and safer by molding the car’s functionality to the immediate environment. For instance, AR is able to tell the car to change lighting and reflection capabilities to increase visibility in tunnels, inclement weather, or other external conditions.  Safely isn’t the only factor that is being improved by the practical application of AR in cars. Travel planning and time management is directly affected since drivers can also use the same technology to construct an airtight route that factors all obstacles and  Furthermore, the augmented reality HUD is able to adapt in a way that ensures the driver can always read the content that’s being projected in real-time. Never miss an exit or overlook an upcoming construction zone again. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/How-is-AR-in-cars-boosting-commerce.jpg] HOW IS AR IN CARS BOOSTING COMMERCE? As we experienced in 2020, access to online shopping and information from home could make or break an entire industry. As a response to widespread distancing measures and regulations, many brands and retailers have discovered that ecommerce is no longer an option – but a necessity – in the modern marketplace. By offering AR connectivity in cars that are rolling out to the consumer sphere, auto brands are attracting a growing tech-savvy audience while also meeting a need for home-based shopping. While the world is beginning to open up and commercial activity is expected to resume in the coming year, the dependency on fast, easy online shopping is likely to stick around.  Consumers have become used to the simplicity of researching, selecting, and even financing automotive purchases online. Additionally, ship-to-home features have added a new level of convenience by eliminating the need for onsite dealerships (and pushy salespeople).  As a result, many auto brands are using new ways to attract clientele via technological developments and in-car features – such as AR apps and car-to-mobile connectivity.  With the majority of global consumers spending a significant portion of their days online, moving the automotive sector to the internet was a natural decision for most dealerships. From the consumer perspective, the addition of AR features is a major selling point.  AR is even used in the shopping process, by giving potential buyers the ability to search through a library of high-quality images via AR apps on their mobile devices. Using these programs gives users more control over their online shopping experience using: * Detailed image descriptions * Dynamic zoom and article selection * Real-time chat and AI-assisted search features * Customizable images When you’re using AR to find the vehicle of your dreams, you’re able to look at each potential purchase with a high-powered lens – while also expanding the search significantly using the same smart features.  From start to finish, consumers are using AR in cars to buy, sell, drive, and even work with their personal and business vehicles. Automotive Market in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Why-should-you-buy-AR-cars-in-2021.jpg] WHY SHOULD YOU BUY AR CARS IN 2021? When it comes to driver trends, consumers are turning to AR like never before. More than half of all consumers are putting their faith in AR as a way to augmented and transform the shopping experience. From the perspective of the manufacturers and dealers, this metric is playing a major role in driving innovation and corporate trajectory.  Since at least 61% of consumers would prefer to make automotive purchases on sites that include some form of AR technology, we’re seeing augmented reality become a mainstay across virtually every industry and specialization. Behind the wheel, consumers are responding in kind to the practical use of AR as a driving tool. Rather than juggling mobile devices and upcoming road obstacles, AR in cars is providing a cushion of security and reducing driving anxiety at the same time.  For those outside of the car, AR is protecting road workers, stray pets, and pedestrians simultaneously and seamlessly. In 2020 alone, AR technology has led to a reduction in related accidents. A staggering 95% of auto accidents are caused by some form of human error, and AR is one of the ways car manufacturers are working to reduce this metric. Whether you’re in the market for a new car or you want to maximize profits for your dealership, AR car software is a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down. This is one aspect of the industry that is solidifying itself as a pillar throughout the mainstream, used, and luxury markets.

6 Automotive Industry Predictions for 2021

6 Automotive Industry Predictions for 2021

March 17, 2021

The automotive industry has changed significantly over the years. To stay competitive, automotive manufacturers have no other choice but to rapidly evolve in order to keep up with changes in consumer demand, environmental regulations, and technology. Yet many experts believe that the biggest changes to impact the automotive industry are still to come. Industry analysts believe that the automotive industry will enter a period of transformative change over the next 12 months. What will drive this change? What’s next for the automotive industry? Here are X automotive industry predictions for the year ahead: AUTOMOTIVE DIGITAL RETAIL For years, automotive consumers have shown an interest in purchasing vehicles online rather than in-person at dealerships. But now, the desire to go digital when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle has grown exponentially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent survey revealed that over three-fourths of automotive consumers are open to the idea of buying a vehicle online. Some consumers prefer a virtual buying experience because it is easier, faster, and more convenient, whereas others prefer it simply because they don’t like the experience of going to a dealership. However, this doesn’t mean that automotive consumers want to go through the car-buying process on their own. In general, consumers still want to be able to interact with someone at the dealership while going through the process of buying a new vehicle. This person must be available to answer questions, address concerns, and help consumers come to the right decision regarding which vehicle to purchase. To address this need, automotive companies may want to offer virtual consultations or add live chat options to their website. Automotive consumers expect the same level of customer service even if they choose to purchase a vehicle online rather than in a dealership. For this reason, automotive manufacturers must make an effort to provide an “at-home” dealership experience.  For example, automotive manufacturers can build a virtual showroom so consumers can explore vehicles from the comfort of their own homes. Manufacturers can also offer virtual test drives or deliver vehicles to consumers’ homes to make the experience more convenient.  [https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/oX2_tLBHpkj1bwruPgBxaqXNyzeFI_h9TI7WVEbne2G7fxQcOVzb1qRwNP5VrH_f8q4AsCPILsvYcBYGG7o2nExeyew5bfnhxe7qonWcBB-t-8V3QZynUYOUAxUz7H_JaUcl-cRp] Some automotive consumers prefer to complete the entire car-buying process online. But others are open to only completing the final steps of the process online, including the price negotiation, selection of add-on features, and signing of documents. Automotive manufacturers and dealerships should keep this in mind when designing an automotive digital retail experience for their consumers. HEALTH AND WELLNESS ADD-ON FEATURES Luxurious add-on features such as seat warmers, complex infotainment systems, and self-closing doors have dominated the automotive industry in the past. Although these features will still be found in vehicles this year, industry experts believe that manufacturers will prioritize health and wellness amenities over luxurious amenities for the first time. Automotive designers will look at every part of a vehicle to determine how it can be used to promote health and wellness. For example, the seats may be redesigned to include massage functionalities. This would allow passengers to relax their muscles, improve circulation, and alleviate muscle tension while on the go. Experts believe that automotive manufacturers may also introduce vehicles designed with ionizers and ozonizers to purify the air inside the cabin. New vehicles may also be designed with self-cleaning surfaces, which would have the ability to remove dirt, dust, and other debris from inside the vehicle. Not only would this create a sanitized environment for passengers, but it would make it easier for car owners to maintain their vehicles. Some experts predict that air pollution sensors will also be included in new vehicles this year. These sensors would be placed on the exterior of the vehicle to measure the level of air pollution outside. The sensor would deliver this data to the vehicle’s main computer, which could then display the information on the dashboard next to the outside temperature reading. This would allow the driver to see air pollution information in real-time just by looking down at their dashboard. These add-on features could be used to win over health-conscious consumers who are looking for new and innovative ways to improve their health and wellbeing. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 22% of automotive consumers are looking for vehicles with anti-microbial interiors. This indicates that health and wellness add-on features could be welcomed by automotive consumers with open arms, especially because of lingering health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. CAR SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES Automotive consumers who want their own vehicle typically have two options: buy or lease one. But automotive manufacturers recently introduced a third option: car subscription services. Now, experts believe that these services will become increasingly popular in the year ahead. To participate in a car subscription service, members must pay a monthly fee. This fee typically covers the use of a car, insurance, roadside assistance, and maintenance. Members can use the same vehicle for the entire month, but they also have the option of “flipping” in and out of vehicles made by the same manufacturer.  [https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/wUsgqvRLV5Rs45_IlG2dxxtM39TY8HbT43Ze3oDzKEwuj2UiNdUZytQHI3Bi0DABNRCvcFDK6d-HZqSC0m_Jx00tG2a1hGi4Nowtm7YP5y_kKUOaQN7nENYpngTqrbFN4XtIcnHv] For example, a consumer may choose to drive a practical sedan during the week, but switch to a smaller, sportier vehicle during the weekend. If they choose to flip, a concierge will travel to their home to make the switch as convenient as possible. Subscription services offer more flexibility than traditional leases. If subscribers want to continue using the service, they must pay the fee every month. But if they are no longer interested in subscribing, consumers no longer need to pay the monthly fee. It’s as simple as that. Car subscription services are usually more popular in large cities such as New York City and Boston, where consumers are less likely to own a vehicle. However, experts predict that these services will start to catch on in more rural areas over the next 12 months. There’s no doubt that consumers are open to the idea of using a car subscription service. According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Automotive Consumer Study, over one-quarter of automotive consumers in the United States are interested in using a car subscription service. The concept is even more popular in other countries, including India, where nearly 70% of automotive consumers would be open to trying these services.  Automotive consumers are willing to pay for these services, too. In the United States, over 60% of automotive consumers are willing to pay at least 10% more to participate in a subscription service that gives them access to different vehicle models across the same brand. Nearly 20% of these consumers are willing to pay at least 20% more for these services.  Based on this data, it’s clear that there is a legitimate interest in the car subscription model, which could explain why experts are predicting a rise in these services this year. SHIFT FROM HORSEPOWER TO COMPUTING POWER In the past, automotive manufacturers focused on producing vehicles with the highest horsepower. But now, experts believe that automotive manufacturers will start to focus more on computing power rather than horsepower. Many vehicles are already designed with infotainment systems, collision-warning features, and navigational assistance. But in the next year, the technology used in these vehicles will become more advanced. Furthermore, more vehicles will feature these technologies, which means automotive consumers won’t need to purchase a high-end, luxury vehicle to enjoy these features. In fact, McKinsey estimates that the number of networked cars will rise by 30% every year for the next several years. Automotive consumers should expect to see a rise in the number of services that are delivered through their vehicles. This may include driver assistance, tourism, entertainment, information, or Internet radio services. Automotive manufacturers may even start to build a wide range of apps that are only compatible with their vehicles’ software. If these predictions come true, vehicles will be smarter and more connected than ever before. Many consumers look forward to increased vehicle connectivity. In the United States, 44% of consumers believe that increased vehicle connectivity is beneficial. In China, 83% of consumers share this view. These consumers aren’t necessarily willing to pay more for increased vehicle connectivity, though. Two-thirds of automotive consumers in the United States and 51% of automotive consumers in China said they would not be willing to pay more than $500 for these advanced features.  But not all consumers are sold on the idea of increased vehicle connectivity. Nearly two-thirds of automotive consumers in the United States worry that hackers could gain access to a connected vehicle and put the safety of the passengers at risk.  Despite these consumers’ concerns, experts predict that increased vehicle connectivity will take the automotive industry by storm over the next year. [https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/1JWeqDd4aKQRnww7--MtEVSeKNmh_8ju7Scb9-pPWPb0OsV9UAZnzZzr4RsuO83gMIaqy7RmIBQUho5TaDDYKlakJFwbvaHLPLZeJjR6OYYXR9Oqlfp_22CHxPe4QQ5wuleZqRuP] EXPANSION OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES Experts predict that the electric vehicle segment of the automotive industry will experience significant growth in the next year. Although Tesla currently dominates the electric vehicle segment, the competition is growing. In 2020, there were 59 electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the U.S. market, but this number will grow to 75 in 2021. New competition could emerge over the course of the year, too. Fifty-four percent of consumers and 63% of dealers believe that a new electric vehicle company will enter the market and rival Tesla in 2021.  The predicted growth in the electric vehicle market could occur as a result of new state laws. Over 40% of automotive consumers and dealers believe that more states will establish laws that require or encourage consumers to only purchase electric vehicles.  Even though experts are confident that the electric vehicle market will expand rapidly in 2021, some consumers are still hesitant to purchase an electric vehicle. Some of the automotive consumers’ greatest concerns regarding electric vehicles include a poor driving range, lack of charging infrastructure, cost, and the time required to reach a full charge. If automotive manufacturers fail to address these concerns, the electric market segment may not grow as quickly as experts anticipate. Furthermore, the percentage of consumers who intend on purchasing an eco-friendly vehicle has dropped. In 2020, 41% of automotive consumers in the U.S. said they intended on purchasing a hybrid or electric vehicle. But in 2021, this number dropped to 26%. Some experts believe that this drop occurred as a result of the global pandemic. In uncertain times, consumers are more likely to turn to tried and true options, which are gas-powered vehicles. If this is the case, more consumers may be interested in purchasing electric vehicles once the global health crisis has been resolved. [https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/0C7nCxVsUcsk80kijz2jS97Rrmv0K5cYVJ83zzXDCRGY3hdIujs5WxEXET3aAyVnVJz5zZsZfZPJX8faRXFqBWHhEYABRs0CfrbjNU_K9Vl8qOLK53IMG0ANYszs5C1i-ArycH2F] GROWING GEN Z CUSTOMER SEGMENT Members of Generation Z, which include anyone who was born in 1997 or later, are now becoming automotive consumers for the first time.  This generation has incredible spending power. In fact, it’s estimated that Gen Z influences between $600 billion and $3 trillion in consumer spending every year. But this generation also has different purchase habits and needs. Because of this, the increase in Gen Z automotive consumers could force automotive consumers to adjust their advertising, marketing and sales strategies to meet the demands of this unique customer segment. In general, Gen Z consumers are sensible, rational, and frugal. In the past, these consumers have preferred car-sharing over car ownership. Ridesharing services and public transportation were seen as affordable, practical, and eco-friendly modes of transportation to Gen Zers. But many Gen Z consumers are now thinking of purchasing a vehicle for the first time due to the risk of using ridesharing services or public transportation during a pandemic.  To appeal to these consumers, automotive manufacturers must remember that Gen Zers tend to evaluate the entire company, not just the company’s products, when making a purchase decision. Automotive manufacturers must display a commitment to important social causes and get involved in local communities in order to win these consumers over.  Previous generations favored trucks and SUVs. But Gen Z automotive consumers are more likely to purchase practical sedans manufactured by Toyota, Honda, or Nissan. This generation is also drawn to vehicles with innovative technological features that make the driving experience more pleasant, convenient, and comfortable.   Automotive manufacturers must also realize that Gen Zers are savvy shoppers who use their smartphones to compare models, find the lowest prices, and research dealerships. They are well-informed and willing to aggressively negotiate for the best possible price on a new vehicle, so dealerships must be prepared to sell to this new customer segment. It’s still too soon to measure the impact that these changes would have on the automotive industry. But one thing is for certain: automotive consumers should be excited about the direction in which the automotive industry is headed. [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/45748/car-predictions.png]

4 Automotive Marketing Essentials Car Dealers Should Prioritize in 2021

4 Automotive Marketing Essentials Car Dealers Should Prioritize in 2021

March 12, 2021

Building a retail empire has a lot to do with the current environment in regard to commerce, consumer behaviors, advertising, and more. Understanding how to reach your target audience, as well as knowing what they’re shopping for, can go a long way when it comes to building your ideal consumer base. In the automotive industry, this is proving to be more important than ever in the advertising sphere. No matter how you look at the state of the market, there are six main automotive marketing essentials car dealers should prioritize this year. Cost per unit sales, ad revenue, data science, and omnichannel media have the potential to Revolutionize the way buyers and sellers interact in the automotive commercial market through 2021 and beyond.  In this article, you will learn more about the ways automotive retailers and brands are using these marketing essentials to drive business, brand recognition, and consumer loyalty in the current marketplace. Read on for 6 automotive marketing essentials car dealers should prioritize this year. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-15.jpeg] INTEREST IN ONLINE AUTO SALES GROWS In 2020, we saw an unprecedented spike in online shopping and sales across a wide variety of spheres and markets. Since many businesses were forced to close their doors amid ongoing (and ever-changing) pandemic regulations, brands have been focusing on ecommerce to keep sales going.  As a result, the automotive sector has changed to better serve online customers from start to finish. From getting approved for financing to scheduling the car’s delivery, it’s faster and easier than ever to purchase a car from home. Additionally, a growing dependency on mobile apps and smartphone programs has driven the auto industry to focus on building out this part of their business plan with the relevant technology.  Adhering to digital trends and online best practices, mainstream and luxury car brands have all but changed the dealership industry as we’ve always known it. Now, consumers are getting increasingly used to the idea of buying a car completely online instead of simply conducting research before heading to the lot.  This peak in consumer online activity could move many onsite dealerships to the digital world – permanently. Not only is this beneficial for smaller dealerships that don’t have a wide selection onsite, but it has drastically lowered operational costs for auto retailers across every size and scale of organization.  As the world opens up, we will likely see the world of online automotive sales to continue to grow over the years. Experts expect online auto sales to increase steadily over the next decade, with a striking 11.9% rate of growth from 2019 through 2020.  When it comes to securing affordable and easy-to-obtain financing, online calculators and pre-approval forms make it simple to find out what you qualify for without ever leaving the couch. Instead of bouncing from dealership to dealership to get the best quote, consumers can use these online tools to compare rates simultaneously across multiple sites and platforms.  Ultimately, the growth of online shopping in the automotive market is helping shoppers to save money, time, and stress during their transaction. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-16.jpeg] CAR SHOPPERS WANT DISCOUNTED RATES As a financial crisis spread across the world, people were faced with some difficult decisions regarding saving for the future and making expensive purchases. This has driven more prospective buyers to consider financing as one of the most important aspects of the entire transaction. Nearly half of auto consumers use multiple devices to research and purchase their next vehicles.  Using online rate calculators and proprietary pre-approval criteria is one reason why some consumers are preferring to purchase their new vehicles online. Also, in response to the stress of the pandemic, many lenders are offering more favorable terms including: * Lower rates * Longer grace periods * Sign-on bonuses * Online discounts Almost half of all auto shoppers want to negotiate the price of their new vehicles online, rather than working face-to-face with an onsite sales person. This metric doesn’t come as much of a shock, seeing as the same amount of people also cited that they preferred to secure financing completely online.  Opening up this function to the cybersphere has the potential to reduce much of the anxiety buyers experience when being sold to on the spot, and can help consumers secure better rates and prices with adequate preparation and research.  Additionally, removing the need to respond to a human being in person eliminates a lot of the impulse decisions and sales-driven features that lead to buyer’s remorse and returns across the consumer base. To take advantage of these savings, many consumers are conducting their purchases online rather than heading to their nearest brick-and-mortar dealership.  Even for dealers that have remained open during the rolling lockdowns and social distancing measures, there is an undeniable demand for some level of online service across virtually every market and demographic. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-17.jpeg] CONSUMERS WANT THE SERVICE OF A DEALERSHIP FROM HOME What used to be a luxury is now the standard for commercial activity, from homegoods to food to – you guessed it – buying a new car. Why would you drag yourself through multiple dealerships and conversations with various salespeople when you could handle the process at home in mere minutes? Consumer opinions surrounding car dealerships are helping potential customers make the switch to online-only retailers. This is partially due to stress and anxiety surrounding the in-person negotiation process, as well as an overwhelming distrust of the industry as a whole.  Shopping online can save buyers thousands over the lifetime of their purchase, and this is mainly due to an increase in customer agency and independence over their choices. From the loan they sign with to the model they select, handling the process from the comfort of home prevents buyer’s remorse and unintentional upgrades caused by pushy salesstaff. In a recent study conducted last year, nearly all participants wanted some type of automotive buying process to be available online. Today, it’s difficult to find a dealership that doesn’t offer at least a few online-only services. These features make it easier for rural residents and those who have a hard time leaving the house to achieve their car-buying goals. Following the pandemic, these populations are likely to continue preferring online services for their: * Ease of use * Low cost * Reduced stress * Simplified negotiation process * Added customization options * Easy-to-obtain financing While more than 72% of consumers would be more likely to visit the dealership in person if the process was significantly improved, experts expect online sales to be the key factor to drive industry growth and customer engagement over the next few years. SEAMLESS ONLINE CAR SALES AND FINANCING ATTRACTS CONSUMERS If we’ve learned anything from the advent of the world wide web, it’s that convenience is king and consumers want to make their lives easier in any way they can. As a result, online shopping has taken over as the main form of commerce for many people across a wide range of demographics and markets.  Today, about 60% of auto retailers offer online financing for new and existing customers. Furthermore, 77% of car sales brands offer estimates for trade-ins entirely online. These features are changing the research and quote comparison processes, helping more customers obtain the help they need to handle the transaction with little employee intervention. Not only is this helping consumers to save money, but this trend is helping auto brands to reduce redundancies and improve efficiency internally as well. Reducing the need for onsite sales people and lending professionals, while also eliminating the need for an onsite office location, is helping car brands to save millions across the sphere as a whole. Consumer and corporate savings are two sides of the same coin, and this shift is helping leading car brands to focus on product innovation and creative growth – without damaging their existing relationships with current consumers. Also, more buyers are able to make their way to the retailer’s respective sales pages with targeted online tracking and smart marketing. Improving the experience for online auto shoppers is bringing more and more customers back to their favorite online platforms. Seamless delivery, 24/7 support options, and improved access to information is helping consumers to understand what they’re buying while also putting the keys in their hands in less time.  Just like most other online markets, customer data and engagement is essential for understanding any brand’s target consumer and what they’re looking for. This means that online sales are helping companies to come up with innovative ways to keep buyers happy and loyal to their respective brands.  The explosion of augmented and virtual reality solutions is also helping to promote the growth of online auto sales. This technology makes it easier than ever for prospective consumers to test out the features of their ideal vehicle from their couch, desk, or kitchen table.  AR/VR programs can be accessed via mobile or desktop devices, as well as wearable headsets, to simulate certain features like: * Virtual test driving  * Instant feature customization * Driveway staging * Digital terrain testing * Delivery updates * P2P communication and video chat services Whether you have a question about financing and loan terms or you want to see how your new  car will look in your parking spot, this type of immersive media is bringing the entire dealership experience to the palm of your hand. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-18.jpeg] USED CARS REMAIN IN HIGH DEMAND Throughout history, used cars have proven to be more resilient when it comes to market changes and the ebbs and flows of the global economy. Everyone needs to get to where they need to go, and the used car market bridges the gap for low and middle-income consumers across virtually all markets and segments.  Consumers prefer used vehicles for a multitude of reasons, but the most popular are: * Favorable rate of depreciation * Increased ROI * Lower insurance costs * Improved research process * Longer life expectancy compared to low-cost new vehicles * Available vehicle history reports In fact, used car sales is seen as a fairly stable commercial market that can withstand a major economic upset – even during a global pandemic. Prices remained stable as well, simplifying the financing process for thousands of Americans from 2020-2021.  As far as explosive Coronavirus-driven markets go, the used car sales sector surpassed expert expectations and will continue to ride this wave into the next year. This is especially true in areas that don’t offer public transportation, or that experienced hindrances as a result of pandemic-incited closures and public uncertainty. With the growth of online sales platforms and unique delivery options, it’s a clean-cut process to purchase a used car with cash or on credit, no matter the buyer’s economic situation or personal circumstances.  Many used car dealers also started to offer more flexible payment and application criteria to reach a wider consumer pool in 2020. In the wake of COVID-19, every dollar matters for everyone and small businesses are no different. But, with the slower rate of depreciation and higher lifetime value of used vehicles, this market is far more resilient than the high-end, new vehicle corporate structure. Buying a car is a major decision, and this market has continued to make major moves during the widespread economic downturn that targeted the country – and the world at large. Although many consumers experienced some form of financial strain in 2020, people are still looking for ways to get from point A to point B.  To circumvent social distancing measures in order to stay open and thriving, car brands that want to keep up with this booming digital trend need to integrate some form of online sales service to stay afloat. These are just a few reasons why consumers are preferring to shop for cars online in the current digital landscape. Incorporate online financing, sales platforms, and customization options to reach more consumers than ever before in 2021.

What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021

What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021

March 11, 2021

The automotive industry suffered greatly in 2020 as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Manufacturing and assembly plants around the world were forced to shut down for months, which led to widespread interruptions in the supply chain. Many consumers avoided public places, including automotive dealerships, due to the risk of contracting COVID-19, which led to a decline in foot traffic and automotive sales. By the end of the year, automotive sales were down nearly 15% compared to 2019. But the automotive industry is resilient, which is why many experts believe that 2021 could be one of the biggest years yet. Here’s what consumers should expect from the automotive industry in the year ahead: WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY REBOUND IN 2021? Automotive executives acknowledge that last year was difficult, but they are confident that the industry will recover in 2021. The COVID-19 pandemic has not been resolved, but automotive executives believe that consumer demand and sales will continue to grow as more people get vaccinated.  Industry analysts predict that new vehicle sales will range from about 15.6 million to 16 million this year, which would represent an increase of between 7.6% to 10.3% compared to 2020. WILL CAR PRICES GO DOWN IN 2021? Although fewer people are purchasing new vehicles, consumers who are purchasing new vehicles are spending more than usual. According to Edmunds, the average price of a new vehicle is over $40,000 for the first time in history.  There are a number of factors driving the increase in the average price of a new vehicle. First, many consumers who are purchasing new vehicles are opting for SUVs or pick-up trucks instead of more affordable sedans. What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-11.jpeg]Red miniature car on coin stack Automotive consumers are also purchasing more expensive vehicles due to better financing terms. The average new-vehicle buyer placed a down payment of less than $5,000 and borrowed more than $35,000. Consumers are more comfortable borrowing large amounts right now due to low-interest rates and other attractive financing terms.  If this trend continues, it may be easier for automotive companies to increase their profits and make a full recovery from last year. The average price of new vehicles is on the rise, but the average price of used vehicles is finally dropping back down to its pre-pandemic, normal level. This means budget-conscious consumers may be more likely to purchase a used vehicle instead of a new vehicle this year. WHAT FACTORS WILL IMPACT CONSUMERS’ AUTOMOTIVE PURCHASE DECISIONS? There are a number of factors that could impact automotive consumers’ purchase decisions in 2021, including: * Economic Uncertainty * Price * Attractive Financing Terms * Sources of Information ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY Economic concerns will play a major role in many automotive consumers’ purchase decisions. There’s no doubt that the pandemic completely disrupted the global economy. Millions of people are either out of work or earning less as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could affect their decision to purchase a new vehicle. According to the 2021 Global Automotive Consumer Study, 17% of consumers in the United States have decided to delay the purchase of a new vehicle due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The pandemic could also impact what type of vehicle consumers decide to purchase. The study found that 16% of U.S. consumers have changed their minds regarding what type of vehicle to purchase due to the pandemic. More than half of these consumers are now going to purchase a less expensive vehicle than originally planned. This data indicates that consumers could be hesitant to make big purchases this year, which could have a major impact on the automotive industry’s performance. PRICE Price is always an important factor in the decision-making process, especially when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle. But this year, price could play an even bigger role than usual.  According to Google, search volume for the best deals on cars and trucks rose exponentially last year. This data indicates that consumers are willing to purchase new vehicles as long as automotive dealers are willing to make a deal.  Automotive dealers must promote special deals and discounts in order to attract these price-conscious consumers.  ATTRACTIVE FINANCING TERMS The right financing terms could also influence an automotive consumer’s purchase decision. Many automotive consumers are committed to finding the best financing deal possible. In fact, one-fifth of automotive consumers in the U.S. spend between one to three hours researching financing options before purchasing a new vehicle.  What is most important to these consumers is finding a financing deal that offers the lowest interest rate for their credit rating. Google reports that the best way for automotive dealerships to win these consumers over is to offer 0% annual percentage rate financing for a period of 48, 72, or 84 months. This is an attractive financing deal that could help dealerships get consumers in the door and increase their sales. What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-12.jpeg]Approved car loan application with car keys If no-interest financing isn’t an option, automotive dealerships should also consider offering consumers no-penalty payment deferments. For example, the Hyundai Assurance program covers payments for up to six months if the car owner loses their job due to the pandemic.  SOURCES OF INFORMATION Automotive consumers tend to conduct a lot of research before deciding whether or not to purchase a new vehicle and which vehicle to purchase. Twice as many automotive consumers start this research online as opposed to at a dealership. This isn’t a spur-of-the-moment decision, either. Automotive consumers typically spend between two to three months conducting research on their options.  During this time period, they get information from an average of 18 different sources, including TV, news articles, blogs, online reviews, and loved ones. To put this in perspective, this means the average automotive consumer gathers information from more sources than the average patient who is considering whether or not to get elective surgery. Automotive manufacturers must make sure that they are able to get their message in front of these consumers while they are conducting their research. Implementing effective marketing strategies to reach these consumers could make a major impact on how well automotive companies perform this year. WHAT AUTOMOTIVE TRENDS TO EXPECT IN 2021 The automotive industry constantly evolves to keep up with the times. Experts predict that these will be some of the biggest trends to take the automotive industry by storm in 2021: * Electric Vehicles * Shift to Digital * Self-Driving Vehicles * Connectivity * Streamlined Business Approach ELECTRIC VEHICLES Experts believe that electric vehicles will become increasingly popular in the year ahead. There were only 59 different electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles on the U.S. market in 2020, but there are already 75 different electric or plug-in hybrid models available for sale in 2021. This number is expected to grow throughout the year as more automotive manufacturers shift their focus to producing electric vehicles. Tesla is by far the biggest player in the electric vehicle market, but many people believe that could change this year. Fifty-four percent of consumers and 63% of automotive dealers believe that a new electric vehicle startup will enter the market this year and compete directly with Tesla. What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-13.jpeg]Charging modern electric car on the street which are the future of the Automobile Many dealers are already preparing for the influx of electric vehicles. In fact, 30% of franchised dealers are investing in upgrades to prepare their facilities for a larger inventory of electric vehicles in 2021. SHIFT TO DIGITAL In the past, automotive consumers typically conducted research online, but then visited dealerships in-person to complete their purchase. But now, a growing number of consumers are completing the entire process online without ever stepping foot inside a dealership. In 2018, only 1% of automotive consumers said they purchased their vehicle online. But in 2020, nearly 1 in 10 car buyers made their purchase online as opposed to at a dealership. Now, experts believe the percentage of car buyers who purchase a vehicle online will grow rapidly over the next 12 months. Some automotive consumers are comfortable with moving the entire purchase process online. But others only want certain aspects to go digital. For example, consumers may be comfortable comparing different models in a virtual showroom from the comfort of their own homes before visiting a dealership in-person to actually purchase a vehicle. To keep up with changing times, automotive companies must be willing to invest in a digital platform to make the car buying experience more convenient for consumers.  SELF-DRIVING VEHICLES Self-driving vehicles won’t necessarily be a priority for automotive companies in the year ahead, but they will continue to be a hot topic of conversation.  Experts believe that tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft will continue to work with automotive manufacturers to develop, test, and perfect the technology that will make self-driving vehicles a reality. Tesla will be another major player in the race to bring an autonomous vehicle to market. Even though a lot of work will go into self-driving vehicles this year, experts do not believe that self-driving vehicles will be available to consumers by the end of 2021. Instead, experts predict that tech companies and automotive manufacturers will spend this year fine-tuning the technologies and generating buzz among consumers. If all goes according to plan this year, experts believe that the first self-driving vehicles may be available for sale within the next few years. CONNECTIVITY Many vehicles available on the market today are already designed with infotainment systems, navigational assistance, and other connected features. But this year, consumers will have even more options to choose from when it comes to connected vehicles. The number of connected cars is expected to increase by 30% per year for the next several years. Experts believe that automotive manufacturers will continue to introduce a wide range of infotainment and safety features in these connected vehicles. Some automotive manufacturers may even partner with tech companies to create various apps that are only compatible with their vehicles’ software. Many automotive consumers believe that increased vehicle connectivity is beneficial. However, nearly two-thirds of consumers in the U.S. worry that someone could hack a connected vehicle and access sensitive information or put the passengers’ lives in danger. To address these concerns, automotive manufacturers must prioritize cybersecurity when designing these connected vehicles. STREAMLINED BUSINESS APPROACH The automotive industry is still in the process of recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s no question that it will take time to make a full recovery. But to speed up the process, automotive companies may need to focus on streamlining their business operations over the next 12 months. Experts believe that automotive companies should attempt to simplify their businesses this year by getting rid of unprofitable, complex projects and investing in essential activities. Automotive companies must also increase the speed at which they are able to change in order to remain profitable and competitive. Committing to a streamlined business approach could help automotive manufacturers rebound strongly by the end of this year and set the stage for a very successful 2022. What to Expect in the Automotive Industry in 2021 [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-14.jpeg]Blurred dealership store, with the cars and soft lightning WHAT WILL THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY LOOK LIKE IN 2025? The automotive industry is entering a period of transformative change, and 2021 is just the beginning. Experts believe that these six trends will dominate the automotive industry by 2025: * Energy efficiency: Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will become more popular, but fuel-powered vehicles will still dominate the market. However, manufacturers will focus on increasing the efficiency of fuel-powered vehicles to appeal to eco-conscious consumers and comply with regulations. * Lightweight vehicles: Innovative, new materials may be used to create lightweight vehicles that are sleeker and more energy efficient.  * Evolving supply chain: The use of lightweight materials could drive up the cost of parts, which will force businesses in the supply chain to figure out how to keep up with the changing times while keeping costs low. * New competitors: Tech companies may play a larger role in the automotive industry and could eventually become direct competitors with automotive manufacturers. * Internet of cars: Increased vehicle connectivity could make the driving experience safer, more convenient, and more enjoyable. * Emerging markets: The demand for vehicles will start to increase in many developing countries. For example, experts predict that India will be the third-largest car market by the year 2025. This could reshape the global automotive market. Only time will tell whether or not these predictions are accurate. But if experts are correct, it’s safe to say that the cars that are produced, companies that build them, and customers who buy them may be very different in the years ahead.

The Many Iterations of the Augmented Reality Car Showroom

The Many Iterations of the Augmented Reality Car Showroom

March 8, 2021

Virtual and augmented reality experiences integrate into many industries to heighten user experience. During Covid, however, virtual and augmented reality platforms and experiences also served to somewhat replicate the in-person shopping experience for the consumer. Augmented reality try-on experiences allowed shoppers to preview makeup shades or paint hues, for example. For the automotive industry, the augmented reality car showroom provided shoppers—even those looking casually—with a way to check out different makes and models. Some experiences were offered online via dealership websites, but others included unique components that could be utilized in the actual store (if showrooms were open). There are many iterations of the augmented reality car showroom. Here’s how different companies have utilized this technology to heighten the user experience. LAMBORGHINI Lamborghini created an augmented reality experience that allowed the consumer to choose where they could preview the company’s new Huracán EVO AWD SPYDER. This was no ordinary augmented reality car showroom. By opening up the augmented reality experience, the consumer could choose where to place and investigate the new model. The Huracán could be dropped anywhere—a bed, the table, the patio!  The showroom was located in the home, the backyard, a park or maybe even a beach. Once the car was placed, the user could walk around the vehicle and check out all the features. Yes, users could even peek inside the car. The augmented reality experience shows that companies aren’t relegated to creating an online showroom for the consumer. With augmented reality, the showroom could be anywhere. To complement the augmented reality experience, Lamborghini also created a video about the new model and an interactive online showroom where users could get even more information about the Huracán. Lamborghini wasn’t the first company to augment the showroom, though. Other major players allowed shoppers to drop their cars into any environment, too! PORSCHE Porsche leans more into virtual reality showrooms versus augmented reality. Visiting Porsche’s website brings up a number of options to explore different vehicles, including the 911 GT3, Panamera and the Cayenne. Porsche offers virtual experiences that allow the user to explore the inside of the vehicles. Clicking on icons provides additional feature information. Virtual reality allows users to enjoy a 360 degree experience; with just a touch of the finger on a smart device, visitors can spin around to view the back seat or look up through the sunroof. Visitors to the site also can explore videos, including one that allows a virtual experience on a race track with Marc Lieb, who won Le Mans in 2016. Porsche also offers a virtual reality experience for the Panamera. In 2019, however, Porsche introduced an augmented reality experience that let users create their Porsche and drop it anywhere. The “Porsche Augmented Reality Visualizer App” can still be downloaded via Google Play (for Android) or the App Store (for Apple). Users can check out different models to design their own car and then place it in their homes…or wherever. Once again, the home or outside environment transforms into a car showroom. VOLKSWAGEN Like the Huracán and Porsche’s AR Visualizer app, Volkswagen provides shoppers with the option of experiencing some of their models anywhere. Place the T-Cross in any environment…including in the middle of the living room. The app does require a flat surface for placement. Once the vehicle is dropped into the real environment, the user can turn it around and click on other options to explore the features. The app can be downloaded via the App Store (for Apple) or Google Play for Android. FERRARI Some apps can be utilized in an actual dealership to provide an augmented reality experience. The Ferrari AR app can be used to change features of vehicles in the dealership. The app also lets the user see the internal workings of the car (an ‘x-ray’ image). This isn’t an app for phones or personal devices, however. The Ferrari AR app is only available in Ferrari dealerships. However, the app does allow for the shopping experience to be much more personalized. While shoppers could always pick out the paint hue for their car, previewing it before purchase wasn’t always an option. Now an app lets the user easily change paint colors to decide on the ideal hue for the Ferrari. Wheels and other features also can be changed via the app. RELAYCARS While many companies offer augmented reality experiences for specific models, RelayCars provides numerous makes and models on display in an augmented reality. The site can be used by dealerships to allow shoppers to preview a car. While automotive manufacturers may focus their augmented reality experiences on a few popular or newer models, RelayCars offers nearly two dozen different models across manufacturers. Shoppers also can find older vehicles on RelayCars. Augmented Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-9.jpeg] USER EXPERIENCE & AUGMENTED REALITY Augmented reality car showrooms provide an enhanced user experience for shoppers. While the tactile element of shopping may be missing, shoppers can interact with the vehicle virtually. Augmented reality also provides a sense of fun when previewing a new car. With the traditional shopping experience, a car can’t be placed on a bed or some other unique location. Augmented reality allows users to choose how they preview and interact with the vehicle. During the pandemic, many consumers might have been limited in where and how they could shop. Many nonessential businesses closed for safety reasons, and dealerships might have been closed to foot-traffic, too. Augmented reality provided a way for consumers to check out different makes and models without leaving home. The augmented reality experience also allowed for a three-dimensional interaction…although it was virtual. Pictures and even videos are flat. While consumers can click through a slide show to get an idea about a vehicle and its features, photographs aren’t traditionally interactive. Augmented reality encourages interaction. Once a vehicle is placed in the user’s environment, the user can explore the vehicle at their leisure. Change paint hues, change the wheels. Walk around the car. Sit inside. These unique experiences had to take the place of real-life shopping. While augmented reality couldn’t fully replicate an in-person buying experience, it could provide its own perspective. Augmented reality, in many ways, created a different kind of shopping joy. Although users can’t smell that new car scent or feel the interior, they could explore the vehicle virtually. Augmented reality might elicit a ‘this is so cool’ reaction, because, for many shoppers, this experience might be completely new. Dropping a vehicle onto a bed, in the garage, next to the garden or even in the middle of the living room is an incredibly unique experience. The ambiance is whatever the user creates with augmented reality. And browsing can be done at leisure. Each different car can even be explored somewhere new. Plan to park the new SUV in your driveway? Drop it on the pavement and see how it looks outside the home. Maybe the buyer discovers that a different color looks more aesthetically pleasing outside the house. The augmented reality car showroom also means no salesforce. While a sales team can provide advice and additional information about a vehicle, some shoppers prefer not to be approached while they are just browsing the lot or showroom. When shopping virtually, there is no pressure. Augmented Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/image-10.jpeg] AUGMENTING THE SHOWROOM FOR THE FUTURE After Covid, virtual and augmented reality showrooms may still thrive. Many buyers have become accustomed to shopping and browsing online. Perhaps car shopping leans virtual, too. The novelty of augmented reality, though, may also make it appealing for new model launches. Augmented and virtual reality experiences can feel almost like a game…like entertainment. So for some users, these automotive augmented reality experiences may just be fun. That fun could lead the shopper into a dealership to experience the car in a hands-on environment. ABI Intelligence predicted in December that “2021 will be a boon year for augmented reality growth.” In 2025, augmented reality is anticipated to hit a revenue of $20 billion. The news release from ABI Intelligence also noted that new products—including some smart glasses—could impact the augmented reality market in 2021. So what might the future of the augmented reality showroom look like? Could smart glasses be a gateway into augmented reality experiences like augmented reality showrooms. While apps on phones and devices now lead users into an augmented reality, if smart glasses become affordable to all and hit the mainstream, these glasses could give us all a glimpse of an augmented reality future. What if cars suddenly appear in our home via these glasses? It’s interesting to speculate how new developments from the tech sector may influence different industries and further enhance the user experience.

How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future?

How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future?

February 25, 2021

New technologies have always played a major role in the automotive industry. In fact, the automotive industry’s willingness to embrace new technologies can be traced all the way back to 1913, when the invention of the chain conveyor made it possible for Henry Ford to produce a vehicle for the masses for the first time.  A lot has changed in the automotive industry since then. New technologies have transformed the way vehicles are manufactured, designed, powered, and operated. But the technological changes in the automotive industry are far from over. Now, experts believe that technology will start to change the way in which humans interact with their vehicles. Here’s what you should expect in the future: THE CURRENT STATE OF CAR-DRIVER INTERACTIONS   In today’s world, drivers typically interact with their vehicles in one of two ways. The first method of interaction is pushing buttons or adjusting mechanical knobs and switches inside the vehicle. For example, if you want to adjust the temperature on your air conditioner, you may need to push a button to turn the heating and cooling system on. Then, you may need to turn the mechanical knob to the right or left to select the desired temperature. You may also need to push a button to tell your vehicle to direct the cool air to the vents aimed at your face. This means you will need to use three different mechanical controls to issue this simple command to your vehicle. Every system within the vehicle must have its own set of mechanical controls, which means there are dozens of buttons, knobs, and switches that are used to control a vehicle. Each switch, button, and knob is marked with a unique symbol or label to help the driver identify what it is used to control. How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-3.jpeg] The second method of interaction is issuing commands to your vehicle through a touchscreen, which is often built into the vehicle’s center console. You can use a menu to navigate to various pages on the touchscreen. Each of these pages will feature controls for different systems within the vehicle, such as the music, navigational system, phone, and heating and cooling system. All of these systems are controlled directly through the touchscreen, which eliminates the need for dozens of mechanic controls.  Most vehicles today are designed with touchscreens rather than mechanical controls. However, many consumers still own older vehicles without touchscreens, which means the only way they can interact with their vehicle is by using mechanical controls. THE FUTURE OF CAR-DRIVER INTERACTIONS There are a number of technologies that could completely change the way drivers interact with their vehicles in the future, including: * Speech Recognition * Gesture Recognition * Biometric Scans * Wearable Connectivity * Vision Artificial Intelligence (AI) * Mind Reading SPEECH RECOGNITION Future vehicles may use speech recognition technology to identify and respond to voice commands.  For example, you might be able to use your voice to ask your vehicle to change the radio station or look up directions to a specific address. This is the same technology that supports Siri, Alexa, and other virtual assistants. But rather than speaking to your phone, you may be able to issue voice commands to your vehicle instead. GESTURE RECOGNITION Gesture recognition technology is similar to voice recognition technology. But instead of voice commands, this technology identifies and responds to hand signals and other types of gestures. This technology would allow you to roll down the window, open the sunroof, turn on the windshield wipers, place phone calls, and control the music simply by making different hand gestures.  Each command would be associated with a unique hand gesture. Moving your left hand up and down could tell your vehicle to roll down the window, whereas moving it back and forth in front of you could indicate that you want the windshield wipers turned on. How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-4.jpeg] BIOMETRIC SCANS Drivers may be able to interact with their vehicles in the future using biometric identifiers such as their fingerprints, facial patterns, hand geometry, and irises. For instance, the vehicle may be designed to use facial recognition technology to scan your facial pattern once you sit down in the driver’s seat. The vehicle could use your unique facial pattern to identify you as the driver. Then, the vehicle could automatically make certain adjustments to fit your needs. This might include adjusting the seat to the proper position, turning the air conditioner down to the temperature you prefer, and playing your favorite song.  This technology could also be used for other purposes, such as accessing locked vehicles and starting the engine without a key. WEARABLE CONNECTIVITY In the future, vehicles may be designed with technology that allows them to connect to the driver’s Apple Watch, FitBit, or other wearable devices. This would allow your vehicle to closely monitor your vital signs and overall health while you’re behind the wheel. After an accident, this technology might enable the vehicle to quickly assess your injuries to determine whether or not you are in need of emergency medical assistance. VISION ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) Vision AI, which is often referred to as computer vision, may also be included in the design of future vehicles. This type of technology allows a computer to identify and process its surroundings just like a human does. In other words, it gives a computer the power to see the world through a human’s eyes.  Some experts believe that this technology could be used to determine whether or not passengers are wearing their seat belts properly. Knowing who is in the vehicle and if they are wearing their seat belt will help the vehicle determine which airbags to deploy in the event of an accident. This technology could also be used to monitor your eye movements to look for signs of fatigue while you are behind the wheel. If your eye movements indicate you are getting drowsy, the vehicle might keep you alert by making your seat vibrate or setting off a loud alarm within the cabin. MIND READING Experts also believe that automotive manufacturers are currently researching how to develop technology that would allow the driver to control their vehicle using only their thoughts. But unlike the other technologies on this list, mind-reading technology may not ever come to fruition. How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-5.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHANGING THE CAR-DRIVER INTERACTION? Using new technologies to change the car-driver interaction could benefit drivers in many different ways, including: * Allows for a hands-free driving experience. Speech recognition technology would allow you to interact with your vehicle without taking your hands off of the wheel. You could use your voice to issue commands instead of taking your eyes off of the road to search for the right mechanical control. This will ensure you stay focused on the road, which could lead to fewer distracted driving accidents. * Reduce drowsy driving accidents. Drowsy driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents today. In the future, vision AI technology could be used to keep fatigued drivers awake and alert behind the wheel. If successful, vision AI technology could keep the roads safer by reducing the number of drowsy driving accidents.  * Sleeker car design. Emerging technologies such as gesture recognition, speech recognition, and vision AI may eliminate the need for mechanical switches, buttons, and knobs inside the vehicle. Getting rid of these mechanical controls would make the interior of the vehicle look sleeker and more sophisticated. * Creates a more personalized driving experience. Future vehicles may use biometric identifiers to verify your identity and automatically adjust to your preferred settings. In other words, this technology would be capable of personalizing the driving experience for every driver, thus making it more enjoyable. * Convenience. Biometric scanning technology could make the entire driving experience more convenient. Being able to access and start your vehicle by scanning your face, iris or fingerprint would eliminate the need for keys. Thanks to this technology, you may never have to worry about scrambling to find your lost car keys again. Using speech or gesture recognition technologies to interact with your vehicle is also far more convenient than searching for the right button to push or switch to flip. Thus, these technologies can create a more positive user experience for the driver. * Accident assistance. In the future, your vehicle might be able to help if you are unable to call for emergency assistance after a car accident. Your vehicle may be capable of detecting when you are injured by connecting to your wearable device to access your vitals. This feature could save countless lives.   * Increases fuel economy. Replacing mechanical controls with new technologies that enable car-driver interaction could drastically reduce the weight of the average vehicle. A vehicle’s weight can affect how much fuel it consumes. The less it weighs, the less fuel it will need to operate. Not only will this make the car more energy-efficient, but it will also save you money on gas. These are some of the many reasons why drivers should get excited about technologies that could potentially change the car-driver interaction. WHAT ARE THE DISADVANTAGES OF CHANGING THE CAR-DRIVER INTERACTION? There’s no doubt that there are benefits to utilizing emerging technologies to change the way drivers interact with their vehicles. However, there are also some drawbacks to changing the car-driver interaction, including: * Drivers must learn new commands. You will need to make an effort to learn how to communicate with your vehicle once these technologies replace mechanical controls and touchscreens. For instance, you may need to learn specific voice commands or hand gestures to ensure you know how to control every system within your vehicle. Failing to learn these commands could leave you unable to interact with your vehicle at all. * Technology must be able to correctly identify commands. Speech recognition and gesture recognition technology may not be advanced enough to easily identify a driver’s command. The technology may struggle to determine the difference between a driver who is attempting to issue a command and a driver who is speaking or making hand gestures for an unrelated reason. Furthermore, the technology may not be able to quickly understand what the driver is saying or gesturing, which may lead to confusion and frustration.  * Privacy concerns. Some drivers may not be willing to consent to facial, retina, or fingerprint scans due to concerns over their privacy. They may also fear that someone is listening to their conversations through the use of speech recognition technology. They may not want to provide this personal data to the automotive manufacturer without knowing how it will be protected and where it will be stored.  * Noise concerns. Having to use voice commands to interact with your vehicle may not be ideal for some drivers. For instance, if you have a baby sleeping in the backseat, speaking loudly to your vehicle could disturb them.  * Difficult to repair. Because these technologies are so new, it may be difficult to find a qualified mechanic to perform repairs in the event that something breaks. The mechanics that are capable of performing these repairs may charge more for their services. These are some of the many challenges that the changes to the way cars and drivers interact could bring. It’s up to automotive manufacturers to either overcome these challenges or ensure that the pros of using the new technologies far outweigh the cons. How Will We Interact With Cars in the Future? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-6.jpeg] WHAT ARE CONSUMERS’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS THESE CHANGES? Automotive manufacturers may start to introduce some of these changes in the next few years. In fact, Ford executives predict that over 90% of new vehicles will be equipped with speech recognition technology by 2022. It’s clear that these changes are right around the corner, but it’s not clear how automotive consumers will respond to them. Researchers have conducted several studies designed to measure consumers’ attitudes towards these new technologies.  One study found that only 44% of consumers between the ages of 15 and 18 prefer using voice commands over physical inputs to control their devices. These results indicate that young drivers may not want to use their voice to interact with their vehicles.  Another study focused specifically on gauging consumers’ attitudes toward gesture recognition technology. The participants were asked to rank various types of advanced interactive features. Gesture recognition technology was ranked last, which means participants ranked all other advanced interaction features higher than this technology. Furthermore, 16% of participants tried gesture recognition technology but quickly abandoned it. However, it’s not clear whether they gave up on the technology because it was too difficult to use or because they didn’t like it once they figured it out. Either way, the results of both of these studies indicate that consumers may not be ready to change the manner in which they interact with their vehicles. There’s no way of knowing whether or not these attitudes will change once consumers are given an opportunity to use the technologies to interact with their vehicles. But one thing is certain: the way consumers drive and communicate with their vehicles will look a lot different in the near future.