Automakers benefit from new-age tech.

Even before the coronavirus spread around the world, automakers were questioning the resiliency of a globally linked supply chain that had been ground to a halt by components production bottlenecks in China. They now have to attract buyers back into the new vehicle industry, despite mounting evidence that demand for new vehicles was already declining.

From manufacturing to sales to distribution, India’s car industry is leveraging technology to improve productivity and profitability across processes and platforms.

Covid-19 hit several industries hard and forced firms to pivot, innovate and adopt new technologies at a much faster pace. This digital transformation equipped them to meet emerging customer demands across touchpoints. The automotive industry was no exception to all this.

Plant shutdowns, supply chain disruption, parts shortages and low vehicle sales posed huge challenges for India, world’s #5 auto market. But automakers & customers embraced the emerging digital solutions. These included online dealerships, home test drives and e-registrations. Automotive sector saw high Tech adoption in the last one year which has surpassed the cumulative rate of the past five years.

The ease of use, safety, transparency and consumers’ growing trust on digital mediums has led to quicker buying decisions. According to Google Auto Gear Shift India 2020 study, 95% of new car buyers and 94% of used car buyers first do their research online. SO, it is imperative to pay attention to the digital persona of the brand and create an image of customer first attitude online.

Keeping customers first via tech

Post-pandemic, automakers are looking at a ‘phygital’ approach to target consumers through a mix of digital and physical initiatives. For example, Maruti Suzuki has digitized 24 out of the 26 touchpoints involved in a car-purchase journey, from enquiry to booking, with test drives and delivery still being a physical experience. Similarly, TataMotors’ ‘Click to Drive’ e-commerce platform has enabled contactless end-to-end sales. Mercedes-Benz India received 15% of sales volumes in the first quarter of 2021 from online bookings after integrating all its dealer partners seamlessly into its e-commerce ecosystem.