Research programme Europe 2017-2018

ICDP Europe 2017-2018: Building Future Automotive

The topics that we will cover in 2017-2018, around the theme of Building Future Automotive, are summarised below.  They are based on input from members, and we are always happy to reflect comments and suggestions from both existing and potential new members in our research focus.   This programme started on 1st April 2017.

Please download the full outline for more details HERE

Customer attitudes and trends – understanding the digital customer

  • Mapping the customer’s increasingly digital buying journey for sales and aftersales.  In particular, what are their expectations of, and frustrations with, the online resources provided by the OEMs?
  • Establish customer expectations of physical sales outlets, both traditional dealerships and alternative formats: why do they visit, and what kind of personal interaction are they looking for whilst they are there?
  • Assess customer attitudes to maintenance and repair provision, including the possible separation of sales and service facilities, and gauge their willingness to allow providers to take a more proactive approach to managing their aftersales needs
  • Explore what types of ‘in-use’ services and support customers will expect OEMs, dealers, and others to provide over the ownership cycle of the car.

Channel structures – aligning the ingredients of an omni-channel approach

  • Understand how the role of the national sales company/independent importer level in the distribution chain should evolve as part of overall channel transformation
  • Explore the options for engaging with potential customers during their key research phase, both online and offline, and before they would usually make a visit to a traditional franchised dealer.  In particular, we will focus on opportunities to engage with the customer when they visit OEM websites, and on the economics of micro outlets for sales and/or service, that might extend physical coverage around a reduced number of dealer sites, either as part of a market area structure or as independent agents
  • Evaluate the future prospects for the third party ’disruptors’, especially those digital platforms which have built considerable scale in lead generation and management
  • Explore the different margin/bonus structures that might underpin future channels and outlet types, including transitional issues, and focusing in particular on the implications for dealers and dealer groups
  • Assess the people skills that will be needed at different levels to enable future channels to operate successfully.

Supply systems for cars and parts – strategies for coping with complexity and volatility

  • Explore the demand sensing and supply chain planning strategies that are used by online retailers and service providers in other sectors for coping with volatile markets and differing customer expectations.  What lessons on managing the order pipeline and physical stock can be drawn for the automotive sector?
  • Examine the extent to which the same supply chain principles for addressing complexity and market volatility could be applied to spare parts distribution, and how they would impact on channels, including the online new entrants.

Used car market –how can franchised dealers’ used car activities be supported?

  • Understand the extent to which used car retail approaches may converge with those for new cars, looking in particular at whether customers will move from outright purchase to ‘monthly payment’ (or other flexible finance options) across the major European markets, and at whether this could contribute to the sector taking more of an overall ‘lifecycle management’ approach to the car and its revenue streams.
  • Explore the services and options available to franchised dealers for improving the effectiveness of their used car operations, enabling them to make a greater contribution to overall dealer profitability, and focusing on the roles of OEMs, finance companies, and third parties in supporting them in this aim.

Franchised and independent aftermarket – the impact of technology, and of player consolidation

  • Evaluate the impact that new technologies, especially electrification and autonomous vehicle features, will have on the size and shape of aftermarket demand, and on franchised and independent sector operators
  • Understand the latest developments in telematics and the connected car, focusing in particular on aftermarket-fit solutions.  Will they have a material impact on the franchised/independent sector balance of market share?
  • Continue to track the evolving regulatory picture around access to customer/car data and aftermarket competition issues
  • Analyse the evolution and performance drivers of the larger players in the independent aftermarket, focusing in particular on repair chains and the consolidation of spare parts distributors.  Will their growth accelerate the decline of smaller independent players?

Mobility services – ready for the mainstream?

  • Assess customer readiness to use mobility services (such as car-sharing or integrated journey management across different transport modes) in addition to or as an alternative to car individual ownership, along with their attitudes towards more flexible finance possibilities
  • Model the financial viability of car sharing schemes, and their sensitivity to a range of investment and operating parameters
  • Profile the various providers in the mobility services space, and evaluate the extent to which their offer will genuinely be able to expand in an economically-viable fashion beyond major metropolitan areas and towards national coverage, across the core European markets.
ICDP's collaborative research programmes around the world cover all aspects of vehicle distribution, including sales and supply, networks and operations, aftermarket parts and service, new technology, and regulation.

We work together with member organisations from across the sector to help improve both the quality and the effectiveness of the distribution model.
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