Third-Party Auto Website Executives Offer Insight on Business Models

Automotive Marketing Roundtable 2013 DSC_4280-SThird-party automotive website executives offered their observations about vehicle price transparency during a panel discussion at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. More excerpts from the panel discussion that was moderated by Joel Ewanick, former automotive marketing executive and now managing partner of Global Auto Systems, are highlighted in today’s post.

 Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO, Edmunds.com

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president, Cars.com

Joel: You’re very different in how you collect your data—so tell me Seth (Edmunds) why is your data so much better than their data?

 Seth (Edmunds): “I guess we see ourselves across the panel as being least competitive with Cars.com. We respect what they are doing: with the classifieds industry and what they have done in used cars—that’s not really our core space. That might change in the future. I think our biggest differences are with TrueCar and with Kelley Blue Book. . . While we were the company 20 years ago that introduced invoice price, and published it for the first time, we’re actually moving in a completely different direction. . . We are going to have dealers provide actual prices on individual vehicles and then we are going to tell what other people are paying. We have our Price-Promise program, now where you get those actual prices. . . Over the coming months, you’re going to see invoice stripped off behind warning labels where you have to click to get it because we believe that it’s not servicing people anymore and it creates confusion.”

Alex (Cars.com): “Putting a price on a transaction that we know is wildly complex creates distrust in the industry. The expectation that this is the price you are going to pay—is not something that any website [represented] here can actually deliver because so much goes into the pricing at the retail store. We rely on dealer participation to drive that pricing.” Continue reading ›

Marketing Exec Leads Internet Site Panel in Discussing Price Transparency

Price negotiation for most consumers is often described as one of the most arduous parts of the purchase process, according to Joel Ewanick, managing partner of Global Automotive Systems, Inc. The former GM chief marketing officer led a panel discussion about “Vehicle Price Transparency” with four third-party website executives at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. Excerpts from the panel discussion are highlighted in this post.

Moderator: Joel Ewanick, managing partner, Global Auto Systems, Inc.

 Panel Members:

Seth Berkowitz, president and COO, Edmunds.com

Larry Dominique, executive vice president, TrueCar, Inc.

Jared Rowe, President, Kelley Blue Book

Alex Vetter, senior vice president, Cars.com

Third-Party Website Leaders Define Business Models

Joel: I see that companies like yours are trying to help the consumer through the process. Can you explain what you do, what your business model is, and then we’ll start to compare and contrast?

Seth (Edmunds): “At Edmunds, we’re working through a major transition. For years, we’ve been an information and pricing authority. We probably have the largest repository of automotive information on the Internet with somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.5 million pages of content. We’ve decided that being this comprehensive encyclopedia of automotive information isn’t enough. . . We’ve decided to make car buying easier. We are going to do this by fostering trust—which is at an all-time low— between consumers and dealers.” Continue reading ›

Millennials Consume Content and Shop Differently

 Millennials consume content and shop in different ways from other generations and these Gen Y consumers are having a profound influence on the shopping behaviors of Gen X and Boomer buyers. Today’s post offers a few more excerpts about these younger consumers from panelists and presenters at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV.

What Does the Car Mean to Millennials?

“About 25% of millennials said they would buy a car sight unseen. They’d go online, find it, buy it and have it delivered. This is going to become a lot more important as we go along.”—Clayton Stanfield, senior manager, Dealer Outreach, eBay Motors

“For most of us, the car was the thing we wanted. The reality with millennials is that it’s probably a device they want first and foremost. A car is kind of a secondary consideration. Maybe it’s due to economics. Maybe it’s just due to how powerfully products have been marketed to them—like Xboxes and PlayStations. . . for auto manufacturers, a way to accrue loyalty and affinity to their brands is to get deeply immersed in offering the consumer some free content.”—Randy Shaffer, director, Xbox West Sales, Microsoft Continue reading ›

Experts Discuss how Millennials Consume Content, Shop Differently

AMR 2013 audienceReaching millennial consumers is a key focus for marketers in the auto industry, and was a key topic during presentations and panel discussions at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV. A few highlights from a few sessions with panelists and presenters that addressed millennial consumers are presented.

“Let’s talk about millennials. . . They won’t get cable. They don’t have any money. They’re entitled. They want to do their own thing. They’re a completely digital first generation.”—Mike Shields, digital editor of AdWeek

How Different are their Media Consumption Habits?

“My team at Microsoft—80% of them are millennials—it’s an on-demand environment. They want to consume a lot of content at the same time. They can do it better than any other group. Some 83% are using a second screen and multi-tasking. . .You have to make sure you have something there to complement what they are consuming on TV.”—Randy Shaffer, director, Xbox West Sales, Microsoft

“We see ‘fanboys’ consuming media voraciously across all platforms. They go to five movies a month. They’re watching two more hours of television—on demand—than their own peer set. They’re consuming a ton of web video. In the case of gamers, they are willing to pay for content. They’ve been paying for $60 games for a very long time. . . You need to figure out how to present it to them. They will steal it first if they have to. But, if it’s good, they are willing to pay for it—that’s proven in gaming, premium video and web video content as well.”—Jay Sampson, executive vice president, sales and operations, Machinima Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Discusses Digital Trends in Shopping for a New Vehicle

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, provided insights from J.D. Power’s latest research on the automotive shopping process during an opening review of “How Digital Living Impacts the Automotive Industry,” at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

A prior post,  J.D. Power’s Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers” summarized Walker’s discussion of shopping trends by generation, statistics about visits to websites, in addition to explaining how AIUs (Automotive Internet Users) access information digitally. Today’s post includes more of Walker’s insight about automotive buyer online research behavior and the roles that social media and video play in the shopping experience. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers”

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Today’s digital lifestyle has a growing impact on the auto industry. Understanding how consumers who are in the market for a vehicle are “using digital information and how they are connected,” was a key focus in speeches and discussions at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, introduced the October conference with highlights of trends in automotive Internet usage based on J.D. Power research. She also spoke about the rise in digital media consumption and identified how different devices—smartphones and tablets—are being used to gather information mostly at home, but also on the go—smartphones are also used for auto shopping on the dealer lot. Walker also discussed trends in content with social media and video and how traditional companies are reformulating automotive content in new ways. Continue reading ›

Luxury Brands in India Must Reinforce a Premium Image During Sales Experience

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

The luxury vehicle market in India has grown in recent years, with premium sales reaching 26,000 units in 2013. This number is expected to triple to 84,000 units by 2020, according to our strategic partner LMC Automotive. In addition, an increase in the number of luxury models available in India, coupled with attractive financial options that enhance affordability, has helped the luxury market to grow.

Success, however, brings with it additional challenges for premium brands. Sales growth adds pressure for luxury brands to differentiate themselves from the mass market brands. According to findings in our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, overall satisfaction with the sales experience in the luxury segment averages 873 points on a 1,000-point scale. Although the luxury segment average is 31 points higher than the massmarket segment average (842), this index score is not a major differentiator for these brands, based on study results.

The price of luxury vehicles is much higher than the price of mass market vehicles. We see that customers expect luxury brands to provide a truly differentiated experience to enhance the value of ownership of these vehicles. The current network of dealers does not provide the level of differentiation expected to reinforce the premium image of luxury brands among these more demanding customers. Continue reading ›

Superior Website Experience in China Boosts Test Drive, Purchase Intent

Dr. Mei Songlin

Dr. Mei Songlin

When new-vehicle shoppers in China have a satisfying experience using a manufacturer’s website for research, there is a higher chance that they will take a test drive and purchase a particular brand vehicle, according to the 2013 China Brand Website Evaluation Study (BWES).

The inaugural online study measures the usefulness of automaker websites at the brand level during the new-vehicle shopping process, based on four key factors (in order of weight or importance): information and content (27%); appearance (25%); speed (24%); and navigation (23%). All scores in this study are based on a 1,000-point scale.

China New-Vehicle Buyers More Satisfied with Website Speed

Speed achieves the highest satisfaction score (730) among the four factors measured, while information and content receives the lowest score (720). We observe that new-vehicle shoppers indicate a strong need for sufficient information related to entertainment systems and fuel efficiency. Continue reading ›

Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process. Continue reading ›

Multiple Platforms, Screen Sizes Drive Major Changes in Automakers’ Websites

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

The explosion of tablet ownership among new-vehicle shoppers in 2013 and the different approaches that shoppers now use to access information during the new-vehicle shopping process is challenging automakers to improve website functionality across platforms, according to our 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluations Study (MWES)–Wave 2.

Results in Wave 2 of the semiannual 2013 MWES find that tablet ownership has climbed by 145% from just 20% of new-vehicle shoppers in Wave 1 of the 2012 MWES, to nearly one-half (49%) of nearly 10,200 new-vehicle shoppers in Wave 2 of the 2013 MWES.

Among the tablet users, overall satisfaction with the usefulness of auto manufacturer websites during the shopping process remains nearly flat at 815 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 818 points in Wave 1 of the 2013 study. Average satisfaction with automakers’ websites by desktop PC users is slightly higher—823—since most manufacturer websites are designed specifically for a desktop. Wave 2 finds that satisfaction among tablet users is lower in two of the four key measures: navigation and speed.* Continue reading ›