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3 Ways to Prepare for Autonomous Vehicles

Autonomous vehicle
Article Highlights:

  • Identify where you deliver value to the customer.
  • Electric vehicles are a bridge for autonomous vehicles.

The first article in this series touched on autonomous vehicles and how their introduction will affect the auto industry, and more specifically, dealerships. While the future is unknown, you do have the ability to control current processes and invest for the future. The following are tangible steps your dealership can make to prepare for the inevitable future and take advantage of existing opportunities today.

Understand your OEM’s strategy

Understanding your manufacturer’s autonomous vehicle strategy can give you a sense of how your dealership can approach future profit optimization. This allows you to begin planning necessary changes to align the objectives of the OEM and your dealership. Some specific aspects of their strategy you may want to familiarize yourself with include:

  • Will autonomous vehicles have sellable upgrades or will features be bucketed into trim levels or individual models?
  • Will these be electric vehicles and, if so, what is the sales and distribution strategy?
  • Will they be sold under the same nameplate as the other vehicles produced by the manufacturer?

Identify where you bring value to the consumer and OEM

The art of selling vehicles has changed over time, but the importance of delivering value to the consumer is only growing. In the age of autonomous vehicles, a dealership’s sales force will be vital to educating the consumer. Training your sales team to possess in-depth knowledge of the features and benefits of each vehicle gives your dealership a better opportunity for success. The new features we are seeing with seemingly every model release are a great learning ground for adapting your sales team to unique selling points now and better equipping them for continued advances going forward. If you can get your sales force developed and razor sharp, you will reap rewards today and long into the future.

Be prepared for maintenance
Electric vehicles, and eventually autonomous vehicles, need specialized tools, equipment, and even physical space in the service department to provide necessary maintenance. Investing in electric charging stations and specialized training for technicians are a good place to start.

Assuming manufacturers will continue to head in the direction of electric vehicles, it seems reasonable to predict autonomous vehicles will also be largely electric. Developing a progressive infrastructure while keeping a close eye on your OEM’s future requirements for autonomous vehicles will help keep your dealership a step ahead and ready for these changes.

So, what’s next
As you prepare for the future, look for ways to prepare for long-term change and also take advantage of short-term opportunities. If your OEM is starting to implement new requirements for your buildings in both sales and service, make the most of them. New types of vehicles are coming rapidly, and now is the time to get ready.

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Brand Marketing, Vice President, Reynolds and Reynolds

Greg Uland is the vice president of brand marketing for Reynolds and Reynolds. He is responsible for customer communications and understanding and defining Reynolds unique position in the automotive retailing market. During his career with Reynolds, he has established a background in fixed operations, sales, and dealership marketing.

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