Auto manufacturers are building cars again. How will this impact marketing?


Florian Voigt

Let’s start with the production line of the future (present actually), what will it look like? A few examples, according to an article in the Sunday Times, Ford in Dagenham East London, workers are required to fill in daily health assessments, temperature scanners and social distancing will also play a part in safely bringing back the workforce.

But will the demand be there? Are consumers willing to spend big during an ongoing crisis? During the height of lockdown, new car registrations were down by almost 97% in the UK, whilst this has changed after easing of the lockdown, last month’s registrations are still 35% lower than usual.

Some Governments are discussing so called ‘scrappage-schemes’ so at least there might be a glimmer of hope.

Then what happens to dealerships and showrooms? It is a hot debate whether buying cars at a dealership is a concept of the past. The car industry has certainly been slow to react to the transition online. Cazoo is just one of many new players promising a hassle-free car buying process, entirely online.

Covid has increased the pressure on car manufacturers to clean up and to offer more, and better, alternatives to Petrol and Diesel engines – I certainly enjoyed quieter streets resulting in cleaner air – so the question will remain, how will the automotive industry react to this increased pressure?

Major auto shows have been cancelled this year and sadly Geneva’s “Salon International de l’Automobile” already for next year. The company running the international auto show has seen some weak demand from the industry. The Geneva International Motor Show is the largest public event in Switzerland and has an economic impact of 200m Swiss francs (£171m; $210m) a year, according to the organisers. This raises another question about the future of such global events as brands are rethinking their mid-to-long-term strategies.

Will there be a rebound in Asia? Some Asian markets (China, Japan, Korea) are likely to recover more quickly than the rest of the world. So far, they have managed to control the pandemic, and their sales are already showing signs of recovery. China, for instance, is pushing affordable electric vehicles, which are expected to become the primary drivers of growth in the coming years. In contrast, growth has slowed in the mature U.S. and European markets after many years of steady growth – according to Felipe Munoz Automotive Analyst at JATO Dynamics.

All doom and gloom? No, Tesla overtakes Toyota to become world’s most valuable carmaker for now. . . let’s see how long the stock market rally will last. The BBC reported: Shares in the electric carmaker touched $1,134 on July 1 before falling back, leaving it with a market value of $209.47bn (£165bn). That is roughly $4bn more than Toyota’s current stock market value. However, Toyota sold around 30 times more cars last year and its revenues were more than 10 times higher. Shares in Tesla have surged since the start of 2020 as investors have begun to feel more confident about the future of electric vehicles. Certainly, worth a positive note is the fact that Tesla is building a Gigafactory near Berlin in times where others are forced to close.

A crisis is always also a chance and Covid has shown that the world can and must adapt, whether that’s flexible working-from-home policies in very traditional and conservative companies, to completely new, and potentially revolutionary, business start-ups.

The need to be flexible and nimble unites all industries and businesses. And it will be interesting to see how the automotive industry will tackle this crisis and turning it into a future success.

It is clear that no one has a silver bullet to get out of this, however, we at Flock have been reviewing the impact of the crisis on marketing and gathered the reactions of CMOs from some of the worlds industry leaders, where we have discovered the approaches used to get their marketing teams and operations skilled up for future challenges.

In a recent survey we ran about what marketing transformation projects should be accelerated there were some interesting results:

  • 44% of clients think skills training
  • 22% of clients think agile marketing organisation design
  • 22% of clients think martech and data projects
  • 12% of clients think brand and strategy

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Agile Marketing Operations

New research by the WFA in partnership with Flock has found that marketing operations teams are increasingly leading the marketing performance element as well as having a strong influence in marketing strategy and capability planning to ensure the marketing department is fit for the future. Watch the webinar here.

How consumers connect and interact with brands has changed dramatically. In order for marketers to be part of this evolved world, the marketing operations model must evolve, with data and better connected consumer connections at its core. Allowing brands to be where the consumers are, talking with them rather than just to them and reacting and interacting with current topics, is vital. This means agility in the marketing process is needed to respond to consumer needs in real-time. Here’s how we can help.

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