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  • Writer's pictureJesus Grana

Customers Steer the Auto Industry’s Future

CX Insights - Trend Watch - Automotive Industry (ICYMI May 2024)

ICYMI - As we head into summer, we’re being treated to some eye-popping headlines. While China, EV pricing, and the response from both governmental and industry sources is a significant topic (albeit a bit above my pay grade), I’m choosing to focus on the evolution of the ever-improving customer experience.


We all know that customer retention is critical, but if recent research is correct, it just got a lot harder. According to a global report by Teads, as reported by Media Post, "Shifting Gears: Understanding the New Dynamics of Auto Buying Worldwide," a staggering 82% of respondents are willing to switch brands.


Conducted across 17 markets, the research suggests that 42% of consumers are solely considering hybrid or electric vehicles. Really!?! We thought hybrid and EV sales were growing slower than expected? It turns out that consumers in Mexico, Brazil and the U.S. still prefer ICE, but consumer preference is on the move. Is this going to be a bellwether opportunity for auto marketers to collect conquest sales? Time will tell.


Regardless of your preference for power, one thing remains true, improving the customer experience is a great way to win friends and influence consumers. While the beautiful lines of hardware have an eternal quality, it’s software that’s winning the day. The ability to personalize the customer experience, while simultaneously learning from their digital interactions is just too delicious to be true.


Sure, software development is difficult, but it provides a real test of the CX ecosystem and the ability to evolve with, and (gulp) even get ahead of the consumer. In this article, Ward identifies right-sizing software feature development as the critical factor to CX success.


Speaking of software driving CX, here we learn that GM announced the extension of its collaboration with Google to now include Dialogflow, Google’s AI conversational chatbot to triage OnStar requests. OnStar’s virtual assistant will handle more than a million customer inquiries a month in the U.S. and Canada for model year 2015 and newer.


The technology goes far beyond simple turn-by-turn requests and can recognize language that directs the consumer to emergency and other critical resources. Don’t worry, the live agents aren’t going anywhere. They’re still there to handle the more challenging calls where an agent can make a real impact.


Speaking of GM software driving CX, in this article, OnStar launches a pilot program featuring its vehicle-locator technology. Family Link gives parents peace of mind by allowing them to use a password-protected website to check on the progress of their child’s driving, knowing when they’ll be home safe and sound.  


If this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because crosstown rival Ford has been using their MyKey technology to offer similar protections. Yet another example of software driving CX.


Do you like reading car manuals? Do you find them riveting, impossible-to put-down page-turners? Well apparently, you’re not alone … and Audi feels your pain.

In what I would call an unprecedented attempt to improve the owner’s manual reading experience, Audi Spain has merged seven novellas with their car owner’s manuals. I kid you not! The Audi team used World Book Day as the backdrop for a joint project with Random House to see if short stories merged into technical manuals could become consumer best sellers, improving the customer experience. A+ for creativity – now let’s see that book report.


Well, if we’re going to drive EVs, and we don’t like to wait for a charge, maybe we can find a way to do it that is soooooo convenient that we forget all about it. What did you have in mind? How about a road with wireless charging technology that charges your vehicle while you drive?


Keep your eyes open. Detroit is debuting the “Road of the Future,” a one-mile loop of charged road that will power a shuttle bus that runs between a parking garage and several office buildings. Think of it as a practical test track. The bus will theoretically never run out of power. Will it work? Is it scalable? Time will tell, but in the meantime, imagine charging while you drive, or while you park. Fascinating, if the dream can become reality. I’m guessing the answer is “yes;” the real question is “when?”

For further information on how we got to where we are, I encourage you to check out our previous ICYMI blog posts throughout 2023 and 2024.



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