30 October 2017

From product to service: the transformation of car distribution

It’s known that one of the main challenges for dealers is moving from being products sellers to being services providers. This has been one of the topics discussed at Automotive Forum (October 16th-17th) with some dealers and carmakers representatives in a Program focused on the future of car distribution industry.

The several keys necessary for this change of pace deal with the ability of reinventing an industry, as the automotive one, often bonded to traditional models and family companies, where it’s not always easy inserting a managerial class capable of bringing innovation.

One of the speakers who talked about this and much more is Arrigo Bonutto, head of one of the more dynamics and important Group in Italy, who shared some aspects of Autostar business, a multi-brand company of great dimensions that works with premium brands. The watchwords are enhancing dealers brand and its recognizability in the territory, sustained by an appropriate financial solidity of the company.

Matteo Albanese (Gruppo Bossoni) and Alessandro Pieravanti (Autostar Flaminia) also talked about innovation, thanks to the possibilities offered by technologies and the use of digital tools they operated on key aspects of the business such as after-sales and customer experience, highlighting how the difference is made mostly by the people involved in these activities.

What about carmakers? Connected cars, electric cars, forms of sharing and in prospect self-driving cars are just some of the challenges on which professionals are called to focus, stretching between product, distribution and service. This isn’t a simple passage, it requires a new value proposition (from product to service), a definition of the remuneration schemes and team work as described by Lucio Tropea, the head of market sales in Italy for smart, a brand that is going to carry out a revolution producing only electric vehicles starting from 2020.

The team work then, the ability of carmakers to work in synergy with its own network for a business development capable of bringing benefits to both sides and of enabling the industry transformation. In this context some initiatives such as the Automotive Marketing Awards gain more values. These awards were assigned during the event, the winners were Jeep, for the brand with the best communication for new vehicles according to Italian dealers, and Kia, nominated as the best brand in the after-sales communication.

The signals of this collaboration aimed to innovation exist: some examples were brought by Leonardo Buzzavo as the one of Rockar in England and the Kia showroom of Clerici Auto all leading to a multiplication of the touchpoints with the client and to its bigger frequency, that require a stronger responsiveness and dialogue capability.

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