car showroom floor
Joe Tautges
| 11 March 2022

How Trendsetters Are Showing the Way in 2022

Moving past challenges to unlock opportunity

Our new study looked at the trendsetters that made car buying better for consumers through new technology and services.

The past two years have created a slew of challenges and opportunities for dealers across the country, leading many to look at new ways of doing business. At CDK Global, we wanted to learn what changes were successful, which weren’t and which are now here to stay.

That’s why we initiated a new study that looked at dealers of all sizes, luxury and non-luxury, urban and rural, to find what made a difference for “trendsetters.”

And while our study confirmed significant staffing and inventory challenges, it also uncovered new uses for technology and remote solutions that increased the overall consumer experience.

The results reinforce my belief that this is an extremely exciting time to be part of our industry.

Technology Is a Significant Driver

The preference for simplicity and convenience — powered by digital solutions — is not going to retreat now, and dealers are keenly aware of this trend.

Our research showed that nearly half of dealers introduced new digital retail technology over the past two years, whether it was an upgraded DMS, CRM or new tools for service.

The survey found that technologies like those that allow F&I paperwork to be completed on a tablet, or service photos, videos and repair orders that can be viewed on mobile devices were not only adopted but are also leading trendsetting dealers to invest in more tech over the next two years.

A tool, however, is only as good as the person using it, and an even higher number of dealers will be investing in training on new technology. Clearly, the focus on technology at the dealership level will continue to be paramount.

The Dealership’s Reach Expands to the Home

There is a theory that OEMs will look to generate direct-to-consumer sales in parallel as they increase the number of Electric Vehicle (EV) models on the market. But a leading global research firm found that franchise dealers will remain the dominant channel for 95% of all vehicle sales through 2026.

The past two years saw dealerships leading the way in selling power, and they were also able to extend their ties to consumers that have a desire for contactless services.

Whether it was contactless delivery of their new car or remote service pickups from their driveways, consumer feedback has been strong enough for a vast majority of trendsetters to keep them in place moving forward.

Cooperative Commerce

Global upheaval in the supply chain has put a new light on what buyers expect and look for when it comes to the basic purchase process. Whether it’s a new EV or rugged off-roader, shoppers are going to be just as comfortable ordering from the factory or asking what’s on a truck heading to the dealer as they are walking a crowded lot of inventory.

That will continue to help with profits but will require more transparency between OEMs and dealers. In fact, three out of four trendsetters told us they are looking to forge stronger partnerships with their OEMs to provide a more seamless shopping experience that transitions easily from digital to physical.

And CDK solutions can help connect these two ends of the delivery process.

Together with OEMs and dealers, we are persistently looking for disruptor opportunities that transform what the consumer journey looks like.

By leveraging data and insights and truly being an company that brings AI-powered intelligence to dealers, OEMs and the market in total, we have helped transform the buying and servicing experience for everyone.

Opportunities to Unlock

Seeing how trendsetters tackled the past two years and uncovered positive ways to impact their stores across their operations showed me there’s always something new to discover in this industry.

At the heart of what we heard, no matter what the dealer was trying to initiate, the key to fueling growth was always to put the consumer first.

So, keep sharp and embrace challenges as you look to become your own trendsetter.

Read the Trendsetter's Guide to Automotive Retail white paper.

Joe Tautges
Joe Tautges

Joe Tautges oversees CDK Global’s Sales & Operations organization, which includes customer care, customer delivery, dealer management systems (DMS), Elead CRM, layered applications, marketing and sales. Before taking on the COO role, Joe served as the chief financial officer for CDK. He joined the company in 2017 after serving as CFO of the $18 billion Enterprise Services segment of Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

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