There will be a “disruptive” change for car dealers as well?


Will this pandemic actually be the acceleration of changes in every production sector, and therefore also in the automotive field? Will the car no longer be the same as we known it?

Maybe yes, and probably the car is at the moment in the same phase which the typewriter or the Kodak paper experienced in the 80s, that is, we are trying to perfect an old model to the maximum, but we aren’t actually realizing that something completely different is emerging, as digital photography was for Kodak.

The “digital photography” in the automotive field will be self-driving cars, which will probably change radically the concept of buying a car and moving around.

The car will no longer be, perhaps, an eager object of possession, but it will be a mean of transport like many others, which will allow us, if there will be a widespread diffusion, to be able to move easily, to no longer have wild occupations of parking spaces, because they will be very few to own a car, and most will use a service rather than a mean.

Probably there will still be the niche market of collecting and personalizing cars, but the forecast of Sergio Marchionne a few years ago, in which he stated the reduction of world manufacturers Ð which has been already fully achieved- will probably keep going on, and they will grow even more with more synergies, alliances and joint-ventures on platforms that will be transversal and common to several companies and not just intra-brands.

All this will inevitably lead to a change in the car dealer network too as we understand it or know it today.

Gigantic structures seen until a few years ago, even superbly crafted with abundant use of glass, steel and other materials will no longer be necessary.

A new Tesla showroom has been recently opened in Turin; large relatively few square meters if compared to the past, will be enough to see the latest new models for those who want to buy a new car.

This is because the pandemic has significantly accelerated the possibility for the customer-consumer to directly choose multiple options online, without the need to physically go to the dealership. You will go to the facility in person for the final test drive rather than to see the car, choose its colour and then pick it up; all the other “phases” will be comfortably done from home.

There will be changes in the sales network, but also in aftersales, it will be necessary to invest more in technicians and specializations, especially for the management of electric and hybrid models.

I believe there will be no more brands dealers or exclusive points as the cars will probably have shared-manufacturer platforms and a repairer will have to be able to manage all the models in his centre, even because probably there will be far fewer choices than today.

The economic crisis, amplified by the Covid pandemic, is showing how the sector has been “surviving” for years in an asphyxiated and saturated market, especially in Italy and Europe; a market where multiple widespread repair points will not be required because most people will no longer have their own car and they will choose to rely on a dedicated service to move around.

When is all this going to happen?
Definitely not soon, even if the Covid is anticipating so many things. Probably these scenarios will be achieved in 5-7 years even considering the current expansion of the electric and hybrid charging infrastructure.

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