The automotive industry’s retail model is at a crossroads. Having sold cars essentially the same way for more than a century – based on a carefully built brand image, on-road performance, safety features and freedom of ownership – the industry must now look to create differentiated offerings that appeal to today’s digitally connected, sophisticated consumer.

Consumers are now turning their attention to their mobility needs and are expecting their cars to deliver the same capabilities and conveniences as their other smart “devices.” They are viewing their cars in the same light as their tablets and mobile devices, which means they are not only looking for quality, safe, reliable transportation, but are also beginning to view their vehicles as another extension of their digitally connected lives.

Automakers, their dealers and partners must understand these customer wants and provide flexible, personalized, packaged and componentized products and services. No longer will products and services targeted for the masses create the differentiation needed to build brand advocacy. Today’s connected and empowered consumers expect to be served according to their individual preferences.

To capitalize on the opportunities presented by today’s hyper-connected, empowered consumers and the vast amount of customer information this connectedness provides them, automakers must solve the retail puzzle by demonstrating innovation and excellence across four dimensions: Disruptive Differentiation, Connected Experience, Social Reach and Channel Transparency

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Meet the author

  • Kalman Gyimesi

    Kalman Gyimesi

    IBM Institute for Business Value Industrial Practice Lead

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