The motor industry in Ireland is worth €1.5 billion to the exchequer. It is expected that approximately 142,000 new cars will be sold in 2017. The industry employs over 40,000 people.
The second-hand car market also contributes significantly to our exchequer. It is estimated that this market has already contributed over €70 million in the first of quarter of 2017.
This is a big business and also a very competitive business.
Every industry considers itself to be unique with their challenges. But it is probably fair to say that the motor industry is a very tough industry.
The motor industry has many features and characteristics that are unique to this industry and required special consideration when developing marketing strategies.
With the biannual car registration scheme, we can expect to see the 172 car registrations from July onwards.
We felt this was an opportune time to explore the benefits of running car sales promotions to drive car sales through dealerships as we approached the 2nd half of 2017.
But before we do so, let's remind us of those features that make the motor industry so unique.
Six features of the motor industry
Innovation is the key to any industry’s long-term success. The motor industry is no exception. Some of the latest innovations include:
- Fully functional driverless cars
- V2V communications – here cars can talk to each other, exchange information and provide a safer experience
- Pre-collision technology – can help drives detect blind spots
- Smart cars which are becoming the norm – GPS, Maps, Streaming music, Weather and other applications
There is talk of the hovering car or flying car!
The result is high innovation costs, which means that the motor industry is now Europe’s biggest investor in R&D.
2. Short product life cycles
New innovative technologies have contributed to reducing the lifecycle of the car. It is estimated that the average lifestyle of a car has been reduced from 7 – 8 year to 2 -3 years. This means that car manufacturers have to spend even more money on R&D just to keep up and have even less time across which to amortise these costs.
3. Managing Demand for Cars
Cars cannot be manufactured immediately to meet demand.
New cars can take years to plan and build, meaning that manufacturers have to estimate the likely demand and hope that their economic and competitive assumptions are accurate.
There is a constant risk that car manufacturers will underestimate demand for their launches, leading to frustrating waiting lists or overproduce leading to excess supply.
4. High cost, low frequency
A car purchase is usually the second most expensive purchase a person will make. This means that their value is interrogated at far greater length and in far more detail than most other products. It also makes this industry very vulnerable to changes in the economic environment.
5. Large Second-hand market
Many dealers have a large 2nd hand car business and indeed may make more money from this than selling new vehicles. It is one of the few industry were the consumer has made a new purchase and is already considering the resale value.
The car industry faces issues of sustainability that is far more pronounced than in other markets. Governments, policy and indeed the consumer are all invested in achieving greater sustainability. While manufacturers strive to improve sustainability, consumers still harbor worries about e-vehicles and other car innovations from driving distances to ease of re-charging.
Having looked at some of the unique features of the motor industry, let’s explore some of the many benefits that a sales promotion can play in driving sales and revenue.
Sales promotions help sell new cars and 2nd hand cars
Buying a car can be the second most expensive purchase a person will make. It is no surprise that the consumers will spend time shopping around and researching different car models and brands.
Often a consumer will have narrowed down their preferences to two or more choices.
A promotion offering a €500 shopping voucher or that holiday may be just the factor to swing that decision.
Build a database of qualified customers
To participate in the promotion, customers are often required to provide some personal data. This data can provide great insights to your customers and their relationship with their car. Data capturing could include the number and make of cars in the household. Information on their location can also help dealer map this information against the dealer network.
Incentive customers to " Test Drive.'
Motivating consumers to test drive a car has some advantages. Firstly, it helps build a database as mentioned in previous points. It also helps determine the future sales or orders for a new car. Most dealerships can estimate the conversion ratio of a test drive numbers to actual sales. If these conversion rates are accurate, the more people that test drive the car, the more cars that will ultimately be sold.
Creates a point of difference.
This goes back to the first example. The consumer is considering a specific type of car and is considering three different models and brands. The rewards could be the only point of difference between these brands and is enough to influence that final decision.
"After Sales" Revenue
Consumers that continue to have their car serviced by their dealer are more likely to purchase their next car at that dealership.
Rewarding customer for their loyalty in "after-sales" services will achieve after sales revenue and will also ensure future car sales of both new and 2nd hand car sales.
Sales promotion play a crucial role is achieving the following:
- Achieving sales of new and 2nd hand cars
- Build a customer database
- Incentives more " Test Drives."
- Create a point of difference from competitors
- Grow “after – sales” revenue