Former Marketing Director in several European countries, then Director of Operations and Customer Relations of Nissan Europe, Guillaume Langle, Global Automotive & Mobility Practice Leader at Comdata, talks about his vision of the evolution of the automotive sector.
What is the current scenario of the automotive sector?
GL: The model established from the beginning of the automotive industry is based on a partnership between manufacturers and their networks of dealerships, independent contractors, where the customer experience takes place. The manufacturer really only has feedback from the dissatisfied customer with his dealership or vehicle. At the same time, other actors are involved in the customer journey, such as banks, insurance and other after-sales services. Ultimately, the dealer’s local reputation is very important in achieving the overall performance of the brand.
And what about the connected car?
GL: Three new technologies are changing this paradigm: electrification, driver assistance systems and the connected car. Electrification reduces maintenance costs with fewer spare parts sales. Driver assistance systems represent a tremendous step forward for our society by reducing the number and severity of accidents, but they also have a negative impact on sales of body parts. These technologies will impact the turnover of manufacturers and retailers.
The connected car is revolutionizing the distribution paradigm. It will allow car manufacturers, thanks to car data, to have a direct connection with the end customer and therefore to offer him additional services. For example, a warranty extension offer or customer contact following the detection of a small shock. The manufacturer is now gaining visibility into the lives and habits of its customers, taking some control of the relationship back from the hands of the dealers.
The new on-board technologies are joined by digital (app), online payment, customization of offers and it can be expected that the role of the dealer will evolve in the years to come.
At the same time, are we seeing an evolution in the uses of mobility?
GL: In fact, we bought a car earlier. From now on, we no longer need to own to move. Fewer young people in metropolitan areas pass their driving license. They prefer public transport, carpooling, telecommuting and, for those with a driving license, rent for short periods and opt for leasing. At the same time, applications respond to these uses by aggregating the different modes of transport. Today there are subscriptions for all kinds of products and services. Why not a subscription for the car, as is already the case for the electric scooter and the bicycle?
What is the impact of digital on presales?
GL: Twenty years ago, a customer visited several showrooms before buying a car. Now visit one, if there is one. According to a study conducted by Google on how to buy a car, 67% say they are ready to buy without testing it, having only seen the videos of bloggers on social networks. Today, even if manufacturers are still investing millions of euros in the media to increase their notoriety, they will have to stand out thanks to their digital platforms and tools to help the customer in their decision and purchase process.
What is Comdata’s role in this new agreement?
GL: Comdata already collaborates with many automotive brands for standard customer service, lead generation, social media moderation, but also for online car sales. We support them through a digital sales system that accompanies the customer from A to Z, and this, on two aspects: the human, to establish a privileged relationship, and technology, which allows the management of the order, the visibility of the warehouse. and follow up with the seller. Thanks to the innovative digital technology, the consultant can “push” the right page of the manufacturer’s website to his customer online, check with him that the options have been chosen, help him with the configuration of the vehicle and comfort him in his order. Similarly, the consultant may involve a financial manager or the sales representative of a concession.