Digitizing Car Sales during COVID-19
Thomas K. Hamann shares a white paper on the sale of cars in Germany and the factors that lie behind the current market situation.
Car dealers in Germany have opened again ca. four weeks ago. But the situation has hardly changed since then; new car sales are still down (Helmut Kluger in Automobilwoche 11/12 2020). Do customers simply no longer want to buy new cars? Or is this due to hurdles that can be lowered by dealers, e.g. through digitization?
#1: People Want to Buy New Cars Again
On March 13, 2020, the German Chancellor Merkel had asked to cancel all non-essential events and to stay at home. As a result, Google searches for the keywords “Auto kaufen” (buying a car) and “Neuwagen” (new car) plummeted massively. In calendar week 16 the first eases of the curfew were announced. After that, the number of those Google searches rose sharply again (Exhibit 1).
On carwow Germany, i.e. a car buying comparison site, the number of new car configurations has been growing again since mid-
April. In mid-May, a level 20 percent higher than at the beginning of March was reached (Exhi- bit 2).
The number of inquiries to car dealers via carwow Germany shows a similar trend. However, they have not yet returned to the level of early March (Exhibit 3).
On carwow, there are two types of inquiries to car dealers—by message or phone. Phone calls point to a much stronger buying intention than messages. This is why a high proportion of phone calls is desirable. Indeed, an increasing number of phone calls has been seen since mid- April. The number of phone calls even exceeded the number of messages (Exhibit 4).
Key points in this white paper include:
- Changes in consumer behavior since the pandemic
- Remote sales
- Digitizing new car retailing
Access the full white paper, 5 Reasons New Car Retailing Needs to be Digitized Now, from tkhamman.com.