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Dealerships to be ‘largely replaced’ by online retail and mobility schemes, KPMG to tell AM Digitech conference

KPMG’s UK head of automotive, Justin Benson

Franchised car dealers could see their new car sales “largely replaced” by manufacturers’ online retail platforms and mobility schemes, according to KPMG research to be discussed at the AM Digitech conference tomorrow.

According to its latest report Global Automotive Executive Survey 2018, which has predicted that half of UK car dealerships could close by 2025, retailers will have to work fast to prepare for the dawn of three main disruptors – the arrival of the EV, the connected car and mobility as a service.

KPMG’s head of automotive Justin Benson will take to the stage at AM’s DigiTech conference tomorrow (17th April) at the Hilton Doubletree in Milton Keynes to explore the impact of digital and new technologies on the future of automotive retail.

Benson said: “Consumers will be using fewer cars. Vehicles are only utilised 5% of the time, the other 95% they are sat on a driveway, outside the workplace or in a carpark. Consumers will be asking if they really need to own a vehicle especially with the onset of the connected car and mobility as a service (MaaS).”

Despite suggestions that manufacturers’ online retail sales have generated limited success in recent years, Benson believes that the platform will gain traction. He said: “We will likely see a reduction in the number of new cars which will be sold through the retail network and a service of ‘fulfilment’ will grow, so will the big expensive dealership be required to complete this process?

AM Digitech book now“We expect to see new car sales continue for a couple of years but largely being replaced by this fulfilment process.”

Benson said that car retailers who own the land which their showrooms sit upon would need to think how they can best utilise these assets and use the land more appropriately, adding: “In the medium term, dealers should develop their used car strategy and service operations.”

DigiTech brings together a series of experts who will explore a range of topics including the onset of EV adoption and how consumers are using both online and on-site to find their next car. Bookings can still be made at 

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