Vehicle purchasing could move online - KPMG

Auto executives are predicting massive changes in the way cars are purchased in the future, according to KPMG’s 22nd Annual Global Automotive Executive Survey.

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It revealed that 78% of executives who responded to the survey believed that most new cars will be purchased online by 2030.

In addition, 47% of the executives believed that at least 60% of new cars will be sold directly by automakers to consumers by 2030.

The survey included 1 118 executives across automotive and adjacent industries, including 372 CEOs.

KPMG’s report highlighted that “the shift toward an automaker-led online sales model would have widespread implications for the automotive sector”.

“The reduced volumes through traditional dealers may require significant restructuring of dealer networks, which are already facing long-term challenges to their profitability.

“For the automakers, direct sales will require significant new capabilities in digital sales, marketing, pricing and transaction processing,” the report says.

Further emphasising the importance of this shift, executives believe that a “seamless and hassle-free experience” will be an even more important factor in consumers’ purchasing decisions than vehicle performance.

With regard to new business models, the survey says executives expect big changes in modes of vehicle ownership, with 84% believing that car subscriptions will compete with sales and leases by 2030.

“This will likely provide another business opportunity for automakers," it says.

"Almost half (45%) say auto manufacturers, rather than dealers or other players, will be best positioned to make a success of subscriptions. Sixty percent of automakers agree.

“By 2030, individual customers may be paying a subscription to an automaker that would enable them to switch periodically from one model to another in the product line-up,” it says.

The survey did not focus solely on terrestrial vehicles, particularly as flying cars, known as electrical vertical take-off and landing aircraft, have received significant investments by automakers and start-ups.

It says 58% of executives expect flying cars to be available in most major cities by 2035.

The survey noted that there has been much discussion about tech giants entering the auto industry and revealed that most executives expect Google, Apple, Amazon and Huawei to enter the car market.

Executives expect the market share of electric vehicles (EVs) to grow dramatically but there is no consensus on what market share EVs will capture.

The survey says EVs’ popularity may depend partly on significant investments in direct current (DC) fast-charging infrastructure, with 77% of executives expecting consumers to require charge times of less than 30 minutes when travelling, while most charging stations in service today take more than three hours.

The survey also found that expectations for the EV market are based on when EVs will reach cost parity with internal combustion engines.

Most executives (70%) believe EVs can be widely adopted without government subsidies but 91% still support such programmes.

With regard to profitability, 53% of global auto executives are confident that the industry will see more profitable growth compared to just 38% who are concerned about profit prospects.

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