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Smart Insights: Automotive

The global automotive industry is facing change on two fronts: a shifting industry landscape of emerging markets and increasing environmental regulations, and evolving consumer behavior and expectations.

To remain competitive, automotive manufacturers and retailers need industry insights that provide clear direction on today’s markets and the consumer demands of tomorrow.  

Our automotive market research experts deliver smart insights across all areas: From optimizing new concepts and product design (for example through car clinics), identifying precise actions to improve car brand perception or experiences, to tracking automotive aftersales.

Success Stories
  • Evolving a luxury car brand in Europe

    Evolving a luxury car brand in Europe


    GfK rolled out a brand tracking program for an auto manufacturer that wanted to improve brand relationships with consumers.

    The client is a manufacturer of luxury vehicles.


    This carmaker has been struggling to command brand presence in the media and in consumers’ minds in the largest European markets for premium motor cars.


    We implemented a brand tracking program in Spain, Germany, France, Italy and the UK for this client. Our purchase funnel model gave it rich insight into the car buyer’s decision-making process. Applying our ConX methodology, we evaluated the vehicle manufacturer’s customer experience at various touchpoints. This painted a picture of how negative, positive and memorable these brand experiences were from the consumer’s perspective. The GfK Brand Vivo methodology underpinned our analysis. It uses human relationships as metaphors for the connection between brands and consumers.


    Our solution enabled our client to track brand performance in its most important markets over a year. We found that its investments in marketing yielded an improvement in short-term funnel performance. However, it was not yet succeeding in strengthening longer-term relationships with consumers. We recommended that the client evolve its marque in the following ways:

    • Increase branding in all marketing activities
    • Focus on shifting the technocratic tone of its communications to a more emotional one.

    Click here to download the success story.

  • Social media: Separating customer sentiment from the noise

    Social media: Separating customer sentiment from the noise


    The GfK Social Media Intelligence solution helped our client to understand customer sentiment about a new car model, allowing it to sharpen its marketing approach.

    Our client is a major car manufacturer with a strong presence in India.


    The Internet – including social media – plays a major role in influencing car purchase decisions among India’s 120 million-plus Internet users. This Indian automotive manufacturer wanted to monitor and measure social media sentiment about a new car model so that it could improve its marketing effectiveness.


    We used our Social Media Intelligence (SMI) solution over five months to monitor and analyze social media conversations about the new car. Our approach combined automated tools with human insight to ensure accurate interpretation of social media content.
    “Human coding” – using skilled people to clean and categorize social data – enabled us to derive real insight from the data and posts we collected.


    The data we gathered and the analysis we conducted allowed us to map trends and sentiment about the new car into a clear understanding of the model’s online reputation. We cut through the noise of the social web to provide our client with actionable insights. From these insights we provided various recommendations, which included a focus on using the right channels to communicate to different audiences (users and influencers, for example) with appropriate messaging.

    Click here to download the success story.

  • Actionable ideas enhance SUV launch campaign

    Actionable ideas enhance SUV launch campaign


    GfK helped this car manufacturer to understand consumer responses to its upcoming TV campaign in preparation for a new product launch.

    The client is one of Europe’s leading auto manufacturers.


    This auto manufacturer was preparing for the worldwide launch of its new sports utility vehicle (SUV). It wanted to pretest its television brand campaign with consumers in key territories to understand its brand effect as well as its cognitive and emotional impact.


    We took a thorough approach to this engagement, using our proprietary EMO Scan (www.gfk.com/emoscan) and EMO Sensor methodologies to gauge consumers’ emotional response to the adverts as well as asking them in-depth questions about their thoughts and feelings regarding the commercials. Our representative sample of the target market for the new vehicle comprised 406 drivers in the United States, Germany and China.


    Our research helped our client grasp how successful its television commercials were in achieving its campaign goals around brand fit, message transfer, memorability, clarity, and emotional and cognitive impact.

    The client learned a great deal about how consumers responded to each advertisement scene-by-scene, including the imagery, storyline and music. The study gave the client actionable ideas that helped it optimize its campaign to drive a more successful launch for the new SUV.

    Click here to download the success story.

  • Helping car dealers enhance the customer experience

    Helping car dealers enhance the customer experience


    Our GfK Echo transaction-based customer satisfaction solution empowers a car manufacturer to pursue its goal of becoming one of the country’s top three in automotive customer satisfaction.

    This company is one of the largest car manufacturers in the UK.


    The client wanted to relaunch its sales and service survey and online reporting output, along with a website that:

    • is easy for dealers to use
    • supports the real-time upload of individual customer feedback
    • allows for immediate communication of hot alert responses to the dealer network


    Our client launched new surveys in multiple languages across 18 markets in January 2013. It adopted our GfK Echo transaction-based customer satisfaction solution to help its dealers make sense of the survey data. We worked with the client to release the GfK Echo portal in 12 languages to 4,400 users at 2,800 dealers worldwide. We provided training materials to support the launch.


    Dealers can see at a glance how they are performing, through dashboards on the GfK Echo portal. Our client uses data from the portal to improve its performance by taking instant action based on real-time customer feedback. Management users can view and compare results across the dealer network. Our client plans to extend the survey into 22 more markets.

    Click here to download the full success story.

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  • User Experience (UX)

    User Experience (UX)

    Our user experience (UX) research and design experts help our clients create and improve customer experiences for existing or new products and services

    Today’s consumer is bombarded with promises for compelling experiences. They are sophisticated and demanding.  To be successful, a new product or service needs to be intuitive, usable, engaging and desirable. The user experience needs to be emotional in order to be memorable.

  • Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Market Opportunities and Innovation (MOI)

    Brands are under constant pressure to maintain relevance in an increasingly crowded market. Identifying when, where and how to deliver compelling experiences that deliver new value for both consumers and brands is critical.

  • Trends & Forecasting

    Trends & Forecasting

    ​Today’s steady stream of new offerings and shortening product lifecycles place a unique pressure on businesses to stay ahead. Consumer purchasing behavior shifts more rapidly than ever.

  • Point of Sales Tracking

    Point of Sales Tracking

    Retailers and manufacturers are under pressure to develop products and services that maximize sales and profit and to keep customers coming back.

    Success relies on having the most up-to-date sales data, combined with robust analysis to understand which products and services are performing well in the market – and which are not. With this information, clients can set clear strategies for commercial growth and increase return on investment.

  • Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    Digital Market Intelligence (DMI)

    When consumers shop, search, communicate, gather information and engage with companies or brands online, they behave differently depending on which device or screen they are using. They expect a consistent experience regardless of the channel or device they are using.

  • Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brand and Customer Experience (BaCE)

    Brands are under pressure to develop emotional connections and relationships with consumers and business decision makers.  Brands need to respond in-the-moment, to enrich the customer experience – and develop strategies that influence ”moments of truth” throughout individual brand journeys.  

  • Geomarketing


    Our geomarketing solutions and consultancy provide our clients with smart insights into location-specific factors that impact the success of business sites, shops, sales territories, target groups, as well as chain store and distribution networks.

  • Mystery Shopping

    Mystery Shopping

    Consumers face a complex array of brand touch points every day of their lives. To deliver a consistent brand experience, marketers need to know how consumers are actually experiencing their brand. Our mystery shoppers give you all the help you need to understand these experiences, and respond to them to maximize the return for your business.

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