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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
  • Improving market impact by testing brand strength

    Improving market impact by testing brand strength

    28.06.2016

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

    Situation

    This client is a significant player in the market for compact, stylish and fuel-efficient city cars. It wished to learn more about how consumers relate to its brand and how to create a deeper emotional bond between customers and its brand. The manufacturer also wanted to assess the customer-brand relationship and the performance of a new model.

    Approach

    We employed our customer-brand relationship (CBR) framework in Germany to investigate how strong and positive consumers’ connections were with our client’s compact car. We also benchmarked the manufacturer’s brand relationships with its customers against those of its category competitors.

    Outcome

    Our research found that the auto company enjoyed strong relationships with 38% of consumers, while its top two competitors had strong connections with 46% and 47% of customers respectively. Additionally, its brand had the highest share of negative relationships with consumers at 11%. Taking these findings into consideration, we were able to propose ways our client could improve its brand impact in the market, such as leveraging its joy of life attributes to increase brand equity and catch up with its competitors.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Testing the vehicle interfaces of tomorrow

    Testing the vehicle interfaces of tomorrow

    28.06.2016

    We help a European automaker conduct user experience and usability research for its navigation and infotainment systems.

    Situation

    Ensuring that human-machine interaction (HMI) remains easy and enjoyable is a growing challenge for our client as it incorporates a growing list of new features.

    Approach

    For more than five years, we have worked with the client on the usability and user experience of its in-vehicle navigation and infotainment systems. We used iterative usability testing with real users to help improve upcoming models and ensure that new concepts and interfaces met user requirements. Our driver distraction testing has also played an important role in our work for the company. We have conducted over 50 studies in total to help the carmaker improve interaction and display concepts in the HMI. This research has spanned the clients’ facilities, our own labs and real-world traffic.

    Outcome

    We helped the automaker to create a usable, engaging and desirable user interface for its latest navigation and infotainment system, launched recently in one of its high-end sedans. Our work has also helped ensure driver distraction from the in-vehicle systems stays within accepted industry guidelines. We continue to work on new interface concepts for future models.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Enhancing brand performance in the US luxury auto market

    Enhancing brand performance in the US luxury auto market

    12.11.2015

    GfK researched one of Europe’s major auto manufacturers to determine the strength of its brand relationships with customers in the United States.

    A large European auto manufacturer that focuses on the luxury segment.

    Situation

    This company has improved the perception of its product and brand in the US market over the past few years and is establishing itself as a serious alternative for premium car buyers. Though our client’s brand equity and sales are steadily growing in the US, we conducted research around ways our client could further strengthen its performance.

    Approach

    We analyzed the auto manufacturer’s market impact using our Brand Vivo methodology – an approach that provides insight into consumer-brand relationships.

    Outcome

    The research showed the client is lagging the market leaders in consideration, familiarity and buying intention. We found that the automaker’s relationships with a high share of consumers in its target market were weak. Thus, to increase long-term brand success in the US, we recommended that the client:

    • evaluate current communications to ensure it had strong “personal fit” and “fun to drive”
      messaging
    • monitor social media buzz and take actions to encourage website visits
    • ensure relevant distribution of service centers.

    Click here to download our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

  • Evolving a luxury car brand in Europe

    Evolving a luxury car brand in Europe

    12.11.2015

    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.

    Situation

    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.

    Approach

    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.

    Outcome

    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 our success story (short version)

    Click here to download our success story (long version)

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Discover latest industry insights, market data and how Auto and Consumer trends will affect your business.

Latest insights

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

    • 07/28/17
    • Financial Services
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Consumer Life
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence decreases a further two points in July – back to post Brexit low of July 2016

    Expectations for the UK’s general economy over next 12 months drop five points
    • 07/07/17
    • Automotive
    • Geomarketing
    • Geodata
    • Global
    • English

    White Paper: Geomarketing for automotive retail

    Digital technologies have changed the way consumers approach driving, from automated parking and steering to monitoring car stats via digital devices. This evolution has affected every aspect of the retail and market scene. Today's technosavvy consumers use apps and social media to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness. These expectations also apply to the automotive industry.
    • 05/19/17
    • Automotive
    • Media Measurement
    • Connected Consumer
    • Global
    • English

    Mobile is the means to improving traction for your crossmedia automotive campaigns

    As an automotive marketer, you face a great many challenges. Not only is the auto industry in the fast lane when it comes to change, but so too is the media landscape you must navigate to attract Connected Consumers. Online media’s increasing importance in the purchase journey combined with the proliferation of connected devices, however, presents a significant opportunity and route to maximizing the efficiency of your campaigns. While traditional TV remains the go-to media channel to drive brand image and reach a mass audience, online campaigns can add extra reach and help target a specific group. More specifically, you need to go mobile and devise content specifically for this channel. Here’s why:

    Go mobile to get more mileage from your campaigns

    Our research shows that mobile accounts for a significant share of digital ad impressions. According to our Crossmedia Visualizer data, based on online users in Germany, more than one third (37.4%) of all ad impressions within automotive online touchpoints occur exclusively on mobile devices. When looking at smartphones only, they deliver 20.4% exclusive reach, while tablets deliver 14.3%. Mobile use is even more pronounced among Gen Y (20-34 year olds) in this market, where 45.3% of impressions in the automotive category are exclusively on mobile. What’s more, our research shows that the reach of Facebook on mobile devices among younger target age groups is nearly three times higher than that of desktop ad placements. Also when run in addition to TV campaigns, paid placements on Facebook can extend incremental reach by 4.5%. This is even before considering the viral effects a campaign can have. Younger age groups are not only critical for brand building but are also, because of their affinity for using mobile and social media, open to campaigns that use these channels. What this means is that if you aren’t reaching them on mobile and via social media through paid placements and the like, your competitors surely will.

    Fine-tune your use of mobile channels for incremental reach and targeting

    The increasing usage of mobile devices among the online population in the auto sector is also evident when we look at the websites of the top three premium car brands in Germany. While desktop still delivers the greatest share of impressions versus mobile for Mercedes-Benz (64.3% vs. 35.8%) and Audi (64.3% vs. 32.2%), for BMW, mobile provides a 53.3% share of impressions versus 45.9% for desktop. These factors combine to underline the need to optimize the mobile elements of your cross-media campaigns to target today’s – and tomorrow’s – Connected Consumers where they are. Put another way, if you want to get the mileage from your cross-media campaigns, you need to fine-tune your use of mobile channels to deliver that all-important incremental reach and targeting of content. You can master today’s multi-channel marketing reality and track, analyze and optimize your media planning with our Crossmedia Visualizer tool. Test it out for yourself for free to discover:
    • which car brand sites have the highest net reach among the online population in Germany and how this has changed over last five months
    • which of the key online auto sites in Germany has the highest net reach and number of unique users
    • what the top auto sites’ reach is by device and which site indexes highest for reaching those who intend to buy a new car (timeframe)
    • and more…
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    • 03/31/17
    • Press
    • Financial Services
    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • FMCG
    • Global
    • English

    UK Consumer Confidence stays at -6 in March

    GfK’s long-running Consumer Confidence Index remains stable at -6 in March.  Three of the five measures stayed at the same level and two measures saw increases.
Solutions
  • 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

    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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