Research programme Europe 2018-2019

ICDP Europe 2018-2019: Disruptive Change - Real or Imagined?

Please download the full outline for more details HERE

During our 2018-2019 programme year, we will combine the lessons of the past with our regular forward-looking research to build our updated, uniquely grounded vision of the industry’s future, and of what it should do to prepare for the challenges ahead.

We have distilled the inputs we have received into four key themes, which are themselves then translated into specific topics, workplans, and our schedule of outputs.

Are we approaching the ‘end of car ownership’?
As a buzzword, ‘mobility’ is now ubiquitous, but it is not new.  Predictions of the growth of alternatives to individual car ownership have evolved from car-sharing to encompass ride-hailing, and now MaaS (mobility as a service).  Finance products too have evolved from traditional leasing and rental towards fractional ownership and subscription models.  Technological progress is now centre-stage, particularly electrification, connectivity, and autonomy.

We will look at these different aspects, finance models, mobility services, and emerging technology, to address the question of whether the sector is approaching the ‘end of traditional individual car ownership’.  And, if this is the case, are customers calling for it, and are they ready for it?  What will this mean for channels and operators, and for revenue models?

Is the ‘omni-channel network’ now a reality?
As customer usage of online resources as part of their car or aftersales buying journey has grown over recent years, so has the need for resources, processes, systems, and data to be joined-up across online and offline channels and operators to deliver a ‘seamless’ customer experience from a more tightly-integrated network.

We will look the role played by online resources, dealerships, and the emerging range of new online and offline formats, to establish the state of progress towards the goal of the ‘omni-channel network’.  How well have dealers managed to adapt so far, or will the omni-channel demands drive further physical network consolidation in the future?  Are the large dealer groups now uniquely well-placed to deliver what is needed?  Are cross-network processes such as lead and customer relationship management now fulfilling the goal of seamless connectivity?  And can the industry’s outbound supply chains for cars and parts really handle the demands of efficiency and transparency?  Overall then, will full omni-channel networks depend on a ‘big bang’ shift with a totally new concept and approach, or are they already evolving as a legacy-based compromise with a patchwork of solutions over the top of existing channel structures, processes and systems?

Are the digital ‘disruptors’ becoming part of the ‘establishment’?
Across sales and aftersales, the growth of third party digital channels and platforms has been a major feature of recent years.  They appear in every topic we look at, bringing information transparency for consumers and providers, creating innovative services around their ability to leverage data, and changing the mix and balance of power within existing channels by opening up data-driven marketplaces.

We think it will be instructive to look back, and to review which third party platforms have stayed the course over recent years, and how they have succeeded.  Equally, what lessons can we learn from the failures, from those who have come and gone?

Looking to the future, we will question whether the third party platforms are now succeeding in establishing a ‘new way of doing things’ in their own vision, or whether they are instead turning their ideas and skills to the service of the incumbent players, and so are in the process of becoming part of the ‘establishment’?  Are there any disruptors who have the potential to control channels or achieve dominant positions, in the way that some have done in other sectors, or will they always be minority players or facilitators?  Where will the next ‘disruption’ come from?

Will technology and connectivity finally transform the aftermarket?
For a number of years, our research has been forecasting an overall decline in the volume of aftermarket demand, against a backdrop of ever-fiercer competition between the OEM-franchised and independent sectors.  The former has responded with a sharper focus on retention, the latter by building scale and professionalism.

But now the pressures appear to be intensifying; electrification, connectivity, and eventually autonomy will each bring fundamental changes to how circulating cars will need to be supported across their lifecycles, and by whom.  At the same time, regulators are getting increasingly interested in how the connected car and the data it generates will impact on aftermarket competition between the OEM-franchised and independent sectors, and on consumer choice and welfare.

So, what will the future changes to the aftermarket mean for customers, both individual and fleet, and for the providers of aftersales service and spare parts that make up the OEM-franchised and independent sectors?


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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