They’re Probably Not Throwing in the Mats

Challenges and opportunities in the dealer model and other contentious issues

By Gary S. Vasilash

Research from Cox Automotive, which is a source that dealers find exceedingly useful in their efforts to conduct their business, found that there is an increasing interest among customers to do more of their transactions digitally.

As in 80% of consumers would like to do part of the buying transaction on line. (Who doesn’t do research on the vehicles they’re interested in on line; who doesn’t want to get some of the “paperwork” related to the transaction done in the comfort of their own home rather than under the fluorescent lights of a dealership?)

And 25% of customers would like to have the whole thing done and dusted on line.

What’s more, KPMG conducted a global survey among executives in the auto industry—OEMs, suppliers, dealers, financial services providers, etc.—and they found (again, realize this is a global survey and the Cox Automotive survey in U.S. only):

  • 78% think the majority of purchases will be on line by 2030
  • 34% think that from 60 to 79% of the vehicles delivered will be direct to the consumer by 2030
  • 84% think vehicle subscriptions will be competitive to buying and leasing by 2030 and only 22% dealers are the best channel for subscriptions (OEMs are the biggest choice, 45%)

There is some concern that due to the reduced inventories that are a result of supply chain issues dealers—not all, but some, some that get attention—are increasing prices well above the sticker price.

If consumers were thinking there might be an alternative before this occurred, then those who were subjected to or simply heard about this behavior might be thinking harder about new approaches to getting vehicles (e.g., the Tesla approach).

This is one of the topics that is discussed on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with “Autoline’s” John McElroy, Cars.com editor-in-chief Jennifer Newman, the Wall Street Journal’s vehicle expert Dan Neil, and me.

Other topics include whether Apple is going to get into the vehicle business (Neil and Newman both think that it is a when not an if), and whether electric vehicles are going to be the end of muscle cars as we know them.

And there’s much more in one of the more animated shows in some time.

Which you can see right here.