In brief

In brief

  • The automotive industry is undergoing significant disruption.
  • Numerous trends—connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing economy, electrification—are forcing automakers to re-evaluate their business model.
  • Fuel-efficiency and emission regulations are forcing automakers to transition toward more energy-efficient and sustainable vehicles and offerings.
  • To address evolving customer preferences toward sustainability, automakers must quickly imbed sustainability in their vehicle offerings and services.

Customer preferences toward sustainability are forcing automakers to develop new strategies

What do sustainability-minded drivers want? The majority of drivers are considering a new-energy vehicle (NEV)—i.e., one without an internal combustion engine as its primary drive train—for their next purchase. Most sustainability-minded drivers would accept a range of trade-offs―including higher prices and reduced performance―for a “sustainable vehicle.” Since no automaker—not even Tesla—is seen as the undisputed leader for the best sustainability concept, the playing field is open for others to make their mark.

Nearly two-thirds of drivers are very environmentally concerned, which will likely affect their buying decisions for new vehicles and for servicing. Further, these "sustainability-minded drivers" span all age groups, areas, and income levels.

Automakers’ myths about customers preferences are just that—myths:

The fact is that most drivers want NEVs, show little brand loyalty, will pay more for sustainable vehicles, and enjoy digital experiences and convenience. And these sustainability-minded drivers span all age groups, living areas and income levels.

Given this, automakers must rethink their go-to-market approach from a sustainability perspective:

Evolving product portfolio

Evolve their product portfolios toward NEVs and improve the digital experience across all points of sale to meet changing driver preferences.

Integrating sustainability

Integrate sustainability into the entire customer lifecycle, not just the vehicle itself.

Alter communication

Embed sustainability into—and most importantly, communicate it broadly across—the brand.

Rethink pricing strategies

Seize the margin potentials in sales and service operations, knowing that customers are willing to pay more for sustainability.

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Automakers can’t afford to be reactive

Automakers must focus on what customers want and act accordingly. Those that can quickly seize the opportunity will be well-positioned for future success; the rest will be left behind.

To help automakers address this challenge, we conducted a comprehensive survey of 8,500 licensed drivers across seven core automotive markets―China, the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Norway—and identified trends in customer demands and preferences with regards to sustainability. These findings bust five misperceptions—or myths—in the automotive market.


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