Car makers take the digital highway

By: |
Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2018 4:21:07 AM

The ongoing Auto Expo in Mumbai has seen numerous launches by automobile companies.

carmakers, autompbile sector, automobile industry, economy, indiaIndia is the fifth-largest automobile market in the world.

The ongoing Auto Expo in Mumbai has seen numerous launches by automobile companies. But the innovation journey doesn’t end here for an auto company. With 89% of Indian car purchases being digitally influenced, up from 75% in 2016, as per The Drive to Decide report by Google India and Kantar TNS in 2017, companies have to fire up their digital routes.

Today, research has moved online where feedback and comments are shared and read on social media, and videos on car reviews and car interiors are watched to help one decide which model to buy.

Thus, car makers are effectively going digital by upgrading car showrooms to include touchscreen product pods, e-brochures and giving online options for customising engines. As per experts, India has over 400 million mobile subscribers with data plans who get their everyday tasks done through the web.

Of these, 63% of Indian internet users are over 25 years of age and 45% consideration for brands is influenced digitally due to access to owner feedback, expert reviews and competition
comparisons.

“Social media has grown in its influence on pre-purchase decisions and this is expected to rise from 20% today to 40% in the future. It is also been found that by 2020, 70% of all pre-purchase will be digitalised and likely to happen completely online,” says Vivek Srivatsa, head, marketing, passenger vehicles, Tata Motors.

Social word of mouth is the first touchpoint in the consumer car purchase journey, followed by searching for information, progressing to booking test drives on brand websites and eventually deciding to purchase based on the overall brand experience.

Tata Motors, for instance, through AR apps and other digital interventions, is trying to bring the car closer to customers with various initiatives to build relationships with customers. For the tier II & III cities, it has made its websites more responsive and adaptive and has also started developing websites with regional language translation to reach out to a larger audience.

“Digital is not a ‘can do’ but a ‘must do’ for the auto sector,” asserts Navin Khemka, managing partner, Wavemaker India, adding that in today’s connected world, every consumer does a lot of research online before making a final decision.

India is the fifth-largest automobile market in the world and is expected to be the third-largest market by 2020, as per reports. Auto brand launches mean big budgets, so every marketer needs to be equipped with digital strategies for these.

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