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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.

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

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Latest insights

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

    • 05/20/16
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Sweden
    • English

    Think Big With These Five Guiding Principles of Innovation

    At last week’s Front End of Innovation (FEI) conference, Vijay Govindarajan of Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business and the author of The Three Box Solution said “The future comes to us in daily doses”.  This point was driven home for me in the recent announcement that came from GM and Lyft, about their plan to test autonomous self-driving cars as taxis as early as 2017.  Not only did this give us a glimpse into the not-so-distant future, but it is a great example of a business following our five guiding principles of innovation: Think big, Understand shifts, Look outside-in, Fuse trends, and Think about the “Perfect Storm”.

    Thinking Big: The driving factors behind Lyft’s innovation

    The most obvious fundamental force behind this announcement is the technology — because without that the dream of an autonomous car would simply be the stuff of science fiction.  However, technology itself is not the only factor.  Way back in 2000, a third of all Americans1 told us that they would be interested in a car that drives for you when you don’t feel like driving — clearly an early, weak signal that this type of technology was at least intriguing to consumers.

    The Perfect Storm: A market poised for growth

    The second (and also somewhat obvious) driver behind this announcement is the rapid expansion of the sharing, or access, economy.  Back in 2010, we told our clients that the “for now” economy – predicated on consumers’ increasing interest in experiences and liquidity and a shying away from ownership and long-term commitments – was poised for growth.  Flash forward to today and we have a world where 59% of global consumers have at least heard of the access economy1 (and 12% report that they have engaged in it). Lyft is one of the dominant players in this marketplace.

    Understanding Shifts: What the future will look like

    Perhaps not so obvious are some other fundamental forces.  By the year 2050, 70% of humankind is projected to live in urban areas1.  This is a huge driver with implications across a wide-range of platforms, not the least of which is related to transportation.  Beijing has already reported traffic jams lasting 3 days or more – what could those traffic jams look like when that urban population doubles from where it is today?  The need for more efficient ways to get from point A to point B is only going to grow.

    Looking Outside-In: Giving consumers what they want

    Another force is that of an aging population.  In most developed markets, we’ve been experiencing aging populations for more than a generation.  The real change is going to come in the future, when markets like China and India report their highest ever numbers of consumers age 65 and older.  Couple that with the trends of ‘aging my way’ and aging with vitality, and we see the opportunity for autonomous vehicles – ending the need for anyone to have their keys taken away due to physical or mental impairments.

    Fusing Trends with the Connected Consumer Index

    Lastly, constant connectivity, and the integration with technology that this implies, speaks to the underlying need for a business model of matching unmet needs of consumers in real time. We at GfK have recently launched our Connected Consumer Index, which 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. The market for Connected Cars has shown steady growth over the past three years, especially in the more developed markets like Hong Kong and North America. The news of this week does, to paraphrase William Gibson, prove that the future is already here, although not evenly distributed.  Following the five guiding principles of innovation is one way to make sure your business is on an even playing field. Please share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at kathy.sheehan@gfk.com. 1GfK Consumer Life (Roper Reports®)
    • 04/27/16
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Connected Consumer
    • Sweden
    • 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. 
    • 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 tim.spenny@gfk.com.

    Learn about mobile payment adoption

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    • 06/28/16
    • Automotive
    • Brand and Customer Experience
    • Global
    • English

    Improving market impact by testing brand strength

    We helped our client understand ways of improving its brand relationships with its target audience.
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