Automotive market trends 2020

02.04.21 10:59 AM Comment(s) By Antoine

What was (in)correct about the predictions?

The year 2020 should have been a year in which innovative developments in the automotive industry would follow each other in rapid succession. The year of EASCY – Electric, Autonomous, Shared, Connected, Yearly – and the digitization of the mostly traditional garages and brand dealerships. Which of these trends actually happened? To what extent has the corona crisis changed the outcomes of the predictions?

Automotive market trends 2020: the predictions

In the beginning of this year, trend watchers such as, but also financial services provider ING, and online magazine ventured into predictions for the automotive industry in 2020. This was summarized as the EASCY principle (Electric, Autonomous, Shared, Connected, and Yearly). The trends: 

Electric: electric driving would definitely break through in the Netherlands.

Autonomous: the self-driving car is also making its appearance in several large cities following the experiments in previous years.

Shared: keeping up with sustainability trends, the shared car would become increasingly popular.

Connected: it is more important than ever to be connected to the car's software as well as each other.

Yearly: This digitization requires car models to be updated annually to integrate the latest hardware and software and respond to the constantly changing needs of buyers.

The predictions for 2020 were therefore mainly aimed at an increasingly digital society which, at the same time, is also taking sustainability into account. Where individualization dominated for a long time and everyone bought their own car, we now no longer have problems with sharing a car, as long as it is better for the environment (and our wallet).

So what impact did the corona crisis have on the car industry?

Of course we didn't know what was coming for us at the end of 2019. The corona crisis turned the Netherlands, as well as the rest of the world, upside down and the automotive industry was also affected. What impact did this have on the industry? Let’s have a look. 

  1. The number of new car registrations in 2020 was almost 25% lower than expected at 340,000 cars. The share of sales of electric cars was 10% lower in the first 8 months of 2020 than the sales were in the whole of 2019.

  2. Due to working from home significantly more, there was a lower need for personal transport. The introduction of self-driving cars such as, for example, a taxi service will therefore take longer than expected.

  3. To prevent contamination with COVID-19, we used less public or shared transport. A private car was therefore, again, preferred. This was mainly expressed in the continuation of an increasing trend in the (online) sale of used cars.

  4. Being digitally connected has become more important than ever. From Zoom bingos to family birthdays via Google Hangout (you're on mute!), social life was mostly online.

As can be read in the aforementioned developments, digitization did not stand still. Annual updates to respond to changing needs therefore seem to be one of the few predictions that actually came true.

What does this mean for car companies?

As mobility preferences change, retention and customer satisfaction are more important than ever. As a car company, you can do a number of things to respond to these new needs:

  1. Differentiate yourself from others by offering different services. Think of electric charging points at the garage for example.

  2. Automate processes in the workplace by, for example, working with digital work orders. This ensures smoother passages, more efficiency and therefore higher turnover.

  3. Ensure transparent customer communication, preferably by means of an app. There's an app for everything these days, so why not one to drop off and pick up your car? At the same time, this guarantees that there are not too many people in the queue in the shop at the same time.

Sources: ING Business, Frankwatching, Aftersales magazine, PWC Eleks, Forbes


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