In brief

In brief

  • Sustainability in the auto industry has typically meant switching from internal-combustion-engine vehicles (ICEVs) to new-energy vehicles (NEVs).
  • But true sustainability requires focusing not just on the vehicle at the point of sale, but on what happens afterwards, known as “aftersales”.
  • This will require embedding sustainability across all areas of the value chain—starting with design and manufacturing and encompassing much more.
  • With no consensus regarding which brands lead in sustainable aftersales, the door is open for any OEM to become a sustainable-aftersales leader.

The customer perspective

This report—based on a survey of 8,500 drivers across seven countries in North America, Europe and Asia—debunks two commonly held myths about the role of sustainability in aftersales and recommends actions that automakers can take to enhance and promote their aftersales sustainability efforts, highlighting how some automakers are doing just that.

Myth: Drivers don’t care about sustainability beyond the vehicle purchase.

Reality: Drivers do care about sustainability in their aftersales experience—and significantly so.

  • Eight in 10 drivers view sustainability as an important consideration in vehicle servicing and repairs.
  • In fact, drivers are more concerned with sustainability than with brand loyalty; 86% would change brands if they could get a more sustainable aftersales experience with another comparable vehicle.

Myth: Drivers won’t pay more or make tradeoffs for sustainability.

Reality: Drivers are willing to make tradeoffs—both financial and regarding their time—for greater sustainability in aftersales:

  • Three-quarters are willing to pay more for greater sustainability in aftersales.
  • More than four in 10 would accept longer servicing times and lower availability of service appointments.
Eight in 10 drivers view sustainability as an important consideration in vehicle servicing and repairs.

No single automaker “owns” the aftersales sustainability concept (yet)

Our research found that there is no consensus among drivers regarding which brands lead in terms of sustainable aftersales—whether a “native electric” brand such as Tesla or a traditional ICEV brand. As a result, there is great opportunity for all automakers to enhance and promote the sustainability of their aftersales operations as part of their efforts to attract customers to their vehicles.

What should automakers do now?

The opportunity is ripe for all automakers to move forward and establish themselves as a sustainability leader by focusing on four interlinked areas: Product, Operations, Pricing and Promotion.

Product: Design for sustainability

Strive to reuse, repair and recycle all materials and products as long as possible, returning them back into the supply chain and value chain rather than into the landfill.

Operations: Embed sustainability point of service

Decarbonize manufacturing, service-center and end-of-life operations; recycle/reuse parts; provide a sustainability framework for the dealer network; and embed sustainability measurement capabilities.

Pricing: Price sustainability into aftersales

Identify core sustainability value levers via a cost-benefit analysis, understand the willingness to pay, adapt pricing as appropriate, and communicate pricing transparently to customers.

Promotion: Communicate simply and transparently

Make the customer aware—before they even make their purchase—of the vehicle’s sustainability not just as a new vehicle, but during ownership (e.g., during servicing, repairs and end of life).

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The road forward

Aftersales can no longer be considered an afterthought. OEMs that can master sustainability in aftersales will be able to differentiate themselves—and be well-positioned to win the race for the hearts and minds of customers.

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