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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.

Alexandros Peponis
+30 210 757 2669

DAT cooperation

Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH (DAT) and the market research company GfK are cooperating in the field of vehicle data. The aim of the cooperation is to create new products for various stakeholders in the automotive industry, as well as for end consumers. For the first time, this cooperation will enable the two market research companies to offer vehicle data over the entire life cycle of a vehicle. Data will consist of vehicle information prior to market introduction, data regarding configuration of new vehicles, valuations for used cars, repair cost calculations, and data on vehicle recycling.

The cooperation between both companies shall initially cover four fields:
New cars, used cars, fleet business, after-sales retail.

Read more about the DAT and GfK cooperation

Success Stories
  • 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.

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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.

Latest insights

Here you can find the latest insights for automotive industry. View all insights

    • 10/11/16
    • Automotive
    • Greece
    • English

    Greece: Latest trends of the Greek tires market

    Positive performance of the Tires market in the Tires Specialists channel (+9,0% in units, +3,3% in value) during the first eight months of 2016.
    • 04/27/16
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Greece
    • English

    Connected Consumer Index

    GfK’s Connected Consumer Index provides a single measure covering how much, and on what devices, consumers in each of 78 countries and 8 world regions digitally connect with each other and with digital content. 
    • 09/14/15
    • Automotive
    • Digital Market Intelligence
    • Greece
    • English

    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.
    • 08/17/16
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • User Experience (UX)
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Building on Elon Musk’s master plan: Payment systems and the future of automotive

    In a recent Let’s Talk Payments article, I discussed Elon Musk’s recently published Master Plan part 2 that outlines his vision for the future of Tesla, which now includes the acquisition and merger of Solar City. In my article I pointed out the disappointing omission of an in-vehicle payments platform from Musk’s plan. Therefore, I took it upon myself to update Musk’s master plan part 2 to include a necessary fifth item about payments, which many automotive companies are already working on but have yet to fully develop. The new plan looks like this:
    1. Create stunning solar roofs with seamlessly integrated battery storage
    2. Expand the electric vehicle product line to address all major segments
    3. Develop a self-driving capability that is ten times safer than manual via massive fleet learning
    4. Enable your car to make money for you when you aren’t using it
    5. Install an operating system that allows your car to pay for things using a digital wallet

    The need for in-vehicle payment systems

    Connecting the vehicles we drive with our surroundings is universally believed to be the future of the automobile.  The use cases for including a payments platform across passenger vehicles, heavy duty trucks, buses and semis are many; parking, tolls, fuel/charging, maintenance, car washes, the drive-through and even for use by an advanced digital assistant to help with booking reservations, hotels, etc.  Thus alleviating the need to find and locate a credit or debit card and read the numbers over the phone which would in-turn make vehicles safer. With the inclusion of the sharing economy as #4 on Musk’s to-do list, coupled with the fact that Musk’s fleet of solar electric vehicles will be autonomous, e.g. self-driving, this leaves plenty of opportunity to plan, shop and make purchases while in route. And with the rest of the automotive world including Ford, Honda, Mercedes and potentially Apple working on autonomous and electric cars, wouldn’t a seamless payments capability be a differentiator for Tesla’s vehicle; further increasing Musk’s lead from the pack of other automakers?

    Making auto-based payments invaluable

    To make an in-vehicle payment system superior and encourage usage over an app on a phone, the user experience must be superior.  Integrating customer needs with functionality and simplicity that trumps mobile app usage will go a long way to making the vehicle the payment method of choice among consumers. And although Musk shuns market research, these types of design and usability preferences can be easily determined through a well-designed user experience research program. The value proposition of including an in-vehicle payments platform may be lost on consumers today, but in the future it will be a table stake, much like cruise control and blue tooth capability. By getting there first, Musk could dominate and create yet another competitive advantage for Tesla. Whether or not Musk finds a payments platform too detailed for inclusion in his master plan is yet to be seen, I’m still waiting to hear back from him. Tim Spenny is Senior Vice President on the Financial Services team at GfK. He can be reached at

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Alexandros Peponis