Autonomous Vehicles? Car Buyers Want Driving to be FUN!

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Autonomous car development is a monstrous emerging industry right now.

More than a dozen car manufacturers and countless suppliers are working hard to make self-driving cars a mainstream reality.

And while it’s true that cars have slipped in sales compared with utility vehicles like trucks and SUVs, there is a massive group of drivers who own a car for an overriding purpose: they want driving to be fun!

The proof is in the numbers.

McLaren had their best year overall, selling 1,234 exotic supercars in the United States in 2017, and that number is expected to increase. Premium and luxury car manufacturers like Tesla, Jaguar, Infiniti, Maserati, Audi, and Porsche experienced year over year sales growth. Compare that with Kia, Fiat, Chevrolet, and Ford who have an overall sales decrease annually.

Drivers Enjoy Driving

There’s an expectation when someone sits in the driver’s seat. Pressing the accelerator, turning the steering wheel, hitting the brakes – they elicit a reaction from the driver. It’s a connectedness with the vehicle, their surroundings, and the pavement on which they drive. It’s gives a high, like a drug of its own.

What It Means for Dealers and OEMs

Several industries will benefit immensely from autonomous vehicles. Taxi services, delivery vehicles, long-haul trucking, and dangerous industries like mining and manufacturing can be more productive and reduce risk to drivers. But where personal transportation is concerned, there will likely be limited engagement by private citizens.

The focus remains squarely on the customer experience in automotive retail. A few shoppers may be interested in a semi- or fully-autonomous car for their family vehicle. Most will always want to actively participate in the drive.

Focus advertising agendas on the feelings someone should expect to experience in the product. Allow the shopper to discover the vehicle fully on the test drive. Drive home the importance of a thorough walkaround and the features and benefits demonstration.

Hone in on the 99 percent of car shoppers who want the driving experience.


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