Canadian AutoJournal February 2019
The February 2019 issue of Canadian AutoJournal is now available online. You can flip through it here, but first, a few words from the Editor in chief of Canadian AutoJournal, Jack Kazmierski.
If you’re as ancient as I am, you’ll remember a time when selling vehicles was all about how much horsepower was under the hood, the quality of the leather covering the seats, and how “cool” the vehicle made the customer feel.
While these factors still count, we’re seeing a new breed of consumers in recent years. Rather than inquire about how much horsepower lurks under the hood, they’re more eager to find out if their smartphones will work seamlessly with the user interface available on a particular model. And rather than view a vehicle purchase as a milestone or a trophy to take home and show off to the neighbours, they’re more concerned with how practical it will be and whether it will fit their lifestyle choices and commuting habits.
I’ve seen this trend with my own kids and their friends. Three decades ago, when I bought my first car, it was all about the sound of the engine, the kick in the pants when I mashed the gas pedal, the cool paint colour, and how fast I could make it off the mark at a stoplight.
Now, I find the 20-somethings complaining about how the touchscreen isn’t as responsive as they’d like it to be. They talk about lag time, or how the user interface has apps that are “completely useless.” While some technologies impress them, others are a real disappointment. They expect manufacturers not only to build quality vehicles, but to equip them with technologies that make sense, and that make their lives easier.
So what does this mean to the average dealer? A couple of points come to mind almost immediately. First, do your employees have a thorough understanding of all the technologies they’re selling? For instance, can they pair any brand of smartphone with any model on your showroom floor, without fumbling through the process? If they can’t, they’re going to lose points with some of today’s tech-hungry buyers who want to know that they can get up and running with little or no hassle.
Also, do they understand the relationship today’s buyers have with their smart devices, and how that translates into a relationship with a vehicle? And do they understand that relationship enough to perhaps recommend an upgrade to a different trim level because it just so happens to come with the kind of user interface that particular customer will want?
Second, this need for connectivity translates into the demand you’ll have for certain pre-owned vehicles on your lot. Used car buyers want up-to-date technologies, too, which means that given a choice, they’re more likely to purchase a vehicle with Bluetooth or Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, etc. over a vehicle that lacks all or any of the above.
Times are changing, and we’re no longer selling cars. We’re selling technology, connectivity, and mobility. Welcome to 2019!