Closer relationship with more clients

In the coming years, the transition to electric driving will not be the most important thing that managers and entrepreneurs in the automotive industry should be concerned about, but the duration of the relationship with the customer and especially with the car. At the same time, the changing customer base must be expanded. This task applies to both dealers and global auto companies.

At a recent conference in Vienna on the future of aftermarket and aftermarket, the approach that the independent channel should choose in time to strengthen customer relationships, especially when it comes to battery electric vehicles. According to many consultants, extending the life of the car is key, and it should translate into a longer relationship between the car company and the car, including its second and third owner. In this regard, the independent channel is currently in danger of being left behind. The Brand Channel is busy sharpening its marketing knives.

On the edge of the abyss

Extending the life cycle of a vehicle and thus the relationship with the customer means the need to invest in (online) marketing and digitization in general, from the customer’s journey for a small used car to all of the workshop activities. You have to see the aftermarket from a broader perspective. This really requires investments in ADAS, in personnel, in certifications and of course in the EV transition. However, these investments require a greater scope to be able to compensate: more customers, larger processing areas and above all an extension of the relationship between the brand and the vehicle and vehicle company, customers and other service providers, including insurance companies.

In dealer lands, this approach is already being encouraged or even implemented by car manufacturers, resulting in fewer dealership owners and the shift from the dealer model to the much discussed dealer model. The remaining larger agent groups will certainly need to increase their customer base. The success of this depends on how well car manufacturers control customers within this new dealer model.

Vehicle data

Kia offers a six-year warranty for a long time and has been progressive nonetheless. Other brands are also extending their warranty periods. Lexus and Toyota’s announcement of a 10-year warranty should alert other service providers of workshop activities. These warranty periods, by the way, will be partially transferable. Orientation towards mandatory proxy maintenance and data check flag are part of this. The goal here is also to expand the relationship with the customer and especially the vehicle (including the second and third owner). The electric car is important here, because the customer seems to be completely in favor of it.

It is about customer loyalty in exchange for longer security with his or her transportation. This is exacerbated by the uncertainty about battery life. So the “check mark” mentioned above should not be neglected. The discussion about access to vehicle data will continue for at least a year before the Brussels regulations are implemented. Thus, the brand channel has at least twelve months to build significant leadership on the independent channel and gain customer experiences.

Speaking of which, barriers raised by OEMs still create an uneven playing field, especially in the aftermarket space. However, the green check mark for this file has been placed in Brussels. There is almost a 100 percent chance that next year’s independent channel parties will be able to own almost all of the vehicle’s data, provided, of course, that the customer desires it. The question is whether the inequality will disappear entirely, because the brand channel is iconic and they will want to bend the rules of the game with air jobs and extended warranty periods. Equal Opportunity: Yes, Equal Opportunity: Not quite.

Workshop Concepts

LKQ Fource’s recent acquisition of Vakgarage underscores the importance of workshop concepts once again. Now LKQ Fource isn’t the only one with its own workshop concepts. Alliance Automotive Benelux, PHE-Doyen and, to a lesser extent, WM all have their own marketing formulas. Bosch supports its own concepts, Bosch Car Service and Autocrew, and works in conjunction with major parts distributors.

These formulas are of course highly supported in exchange for parts rotation. The concepts should also enable participating auto companies to gain a competitive advantage. All this support from parties with ‘deep pockets’ means that auto companies that have to find their customers and develop services on their own – that is, without a concept – risk losing the combined marketing power of the concept and franchisees with distribution partners, because just like a brand channel, they will focus These parties are based on loyal customers.

Communication is the common thread. Jobs over the air will become crucial. Initially, they are the domain of brands, but the independent channel will also develop new services and revenue models, especially to keep up with the car. Only then will the driver of tomorrow also become the customer of tomorrow. Realizing that this is the challenge today. Waiting until tomorrow is not an option. The customer doesn’t wait either.

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