SuperSpark looks into his crystal ball

Gary Gearbox from Greytown wrote to SuperSpark to ask about the future of bricks and mortar dealerships as we know them.

Dear SuperSpark,

It is often said that the business of buying and selling cars as we know it is about to change dramatically. What is your take on this?

SuperSpark replies

Dear Gary,

As one often hears, “the only constant is change”. And that is indeed so in the motor industry as well.

I recently came across this interesting article and thought the best way to answer your question is to share the article with you.

While it is an article about the UK industry, we at the southern tip of Africa never lag behind for too long.

So, my advice is that you should not be intimidated by change, but to rather embrace it. Work out ways of incorporating new technology and marketing techniques into your current sales mix.

I have to fly, but would like to leave you with one last thought, on a less serious note from one Robert Gallagher, who once said, ‘Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.’



Car-buying process will be entirely via video within five

The process of buying and selling cars will be done almost entirely remotely using video technology within five years, claims new research.

Consumers already use video extensively in the shopping process, with 75% of car buyers watching video to research their next purchase before ever setting foot in a car showroom.

As Smartphone software becomes ever more sophisticated and super-fast 5G technology is introduced, that trend is expected to accelerate.

Motorists will be haggling with dealers, agreeing part-exchange prices remotely and selling cars privately, all using video communication rather than face-to-face negotiation.

The predictions come from automotive video specialist, CitNOW, which has published a White Paper on the current and future roles of video in automotive business.

Video is already used by the car industry across the UK, with more than 50% of the franchised dealer network using some form of personalised service to help customer relations in both car sales and workshops.

CitNOW CEO Alistair Horsburgh said: “At the moment, the car industry is waking up to the importance of using video to communicate with their customers but, by 2020, it will be a two-way conversation.

“We are already seeing how drivers are starting to expect and demand video as part of the service they get from dealers.

“Within five years, the entire process of buying a new car, from researching different models to agreeing a price and a specification, will be done remotely. Motorists won’t ever have to visit the showroom, except perhaps to pick up the car they’ve ordered.”

CitNOW’s research paper found that, through the use of personalised video, not only were motorists more likely to return to the same dealership for future purchases, but transactions were made quicker.

The vast majority of dealers interviewed by CitNOW (86%) said that video had positively impacted on customer retention; meanwhile, 88% of used car sales and 70% of new car sales were completed within four weeks using video.

CitNOW counts 28 major car makers and 88 of the top 100 UK dealer groups among the businesses it works with. By the end of 2016, it forecasts that its customer base will be of over 5,000 dealers.

“It all sounds a bit daunting,” said Horsburgh, “but it’s the way the whole industry is going. Consumers these days expect this level of convenience, speed and quality of service.”

The original article, Car-buying process will be entirely via video within five years, first appeared on

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