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Buying a car online is 'practically inevitable'

Consumers will expect to be able to purchase their next vehicle online in the not too distant future. And dealers and manufacturers will need to work together to find innovative ways to fulfil such expectations, according to automotive researchers Capgemini’s Nick Gill, senior vice president and chair of the automotive council.

Gill (pictured), co-author of Capgemini’s 15th annual Cars Online report, will take to the stage at AM’s Digital Dealer Conference at The Motor Heritage Centre, Gaydon, Warwickshire on September 4, along with several other experts in the digital and automotive arena.

The latest report which surveyed more than 10,000 ‘in-market’ motorists across key global markets found a staggering 44% would be willing to make their vehicle purchase online and whilst British consumers were a little more conservative with only 28%, the lowest rate of all nationalities questioned, saying they would buy via the internet, the appetite is still significant and will only gather momentum over the coming months.

The research discovered at six key areas: the use of social media; online sales; mobility; connected cars; communications and general dissatisfaction.

Gill said: “Social media is incredibly influential in the buying decision worldwide and a coordinated and not disjointed or duplicate response is required between manufacturers and their dealer network. The demand for an end-to-end online process is growing stronger, particularly as younger buyers begin to dominate the marketplace.

“Up and coming car consumers also have new ideas about mobility and don’t necessarily consider car ownership as essential so manufacturers and dealers will need to come up with innovative leasing and even car share schemes to maintain their place in the market.

"The average 50-year-old Brit may want to own their car but that’s not the same for the younger generation who are more interested in the latest smart phone than they are about car ownership and as such they will be swayed by a car’s connectivity and in-car technology.”

However, whilst the new consumers are keen for much of their activity including payment to take place online, Gill does not believe the death knell is sounding for the dealer network, it just needs to take a more inventive approach to attract and retain the connected consumer.

"In many ways other retailers have undergone this process forcing them to adopt new and innovative ways of engaging with the consumer.

"The High Street has struggled, but those brands which adapted have managed to stake their claim in bricks and mortar as well as online. We in the automotive industry are now on the cusp of this very same sequence of events but to do nothing is to become the next victim as there is a general dissatisfaction with the dealer experience with relevant, timely and individual communications proving key.”

> Tickets are available to dealers and manufacturers, to book, please contact Emma-Louise Kinnaird on 01733 395133 or email or visit

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