CBT Automotive is speaking today with Cox Automotive members: Joe George, President of Mobility Solutions, David Liniado, VP of New Growth and Development, and Vince Zappa, President of Clutch Technologies to discuss the future of the automotive industry, and find out what consumers really want.
Cox Automotive is expanding their business model to include a new branch of the automotive industry, vehicle subscription services. By acquiring Clutch Technologies and entering a joint-venture with Holman Automotive to bolster Flexdrive, Cox is taking advantage of subscription trends and the enormous, digital space that they provide.
These subscriptions allow for more flexibility, and a consumer focused experience. Vince poses the question, “Why can’t your car match your life?” The service is designed to find that perfect car to match your every need, and with Cox’s many resources and solid platform, this alternative to ownership is gaining in popularity.While David is quick to point out that car ownership is not going away, the average consumer is only using their vehicle 4 percent of the time. That leaves an enormous opportunity to unlock the remaining 96 percent simply by analyzing changing preferences, and shifting consumer experience.
Joe elaborates on another alternative to car ownership, ride sharing services. With subscriptions like Clutch and Flexdrive, Cox Mobility Solutions is engaging and supporting these services by giving drivers access to vehicles, providing repairs, and keeping cars clean with the ultimate goal to, as Joe puts it, “Enable the car dealer to become a transportation retailer of the future, not just a product retailer.”
Vince supplements this with stating that dealers are their primary customers. The dealer is looking to have a long, continuous relationship with customers rather than an one-off, episodic encounter.
Subscription services are especially popular among younger generations, and that is at the forefront of legacy dealerships. Children are taking over their families’ dealerships, and looking to implement these new services. Millennials are attracted to this format, as are empty nesters who want to simplify their possessions, and who want to forget about maintenance issues. Vince states, “It’s removing the less fun parts of car ownership.”
Joe closes reminding us that sales and financing will still have the lion’s share of the industry; subscription services won’t take over immediately. But this product change will bring a new and exciting paradigm shift to the industry’s future.