Is the digital ecosystem more important than the cars themselves?

When you think about what makes a great car, do you call to mind images of roaring engines, shiny paint jobs and unprecedented fuel efficiency? According to a new survey from KPMG, there is a feature that is becoming even more important in today’s automotive sector – data. In fact, 85 per cent of survey respondents agree that the digital ecosystem is likely to produce more revenue than the hardware of the vehicles themselves, meaning automotive dealerships will need to realign the focus of their sales staff in the world of connectivity and digitisation.

Around 85 per cent of automotive executives believe the digital ecosystem will generate more revenue than vehicle hardware.

The rise of the digital ecosystem

As consumers become increasingly connected and incorporate data into their daily lives in more ways than ever before, the pressure is on the automotive sector to accommodate these changes. As a result, organisations at every level of the industry are looking for ways to keep up with trends in connectivity and digitisation, creating a fertile digital ecosystem that enables them to utilise data for innovative new applications.

KPMG’s Global Chair of Automotive, Dieter Becker says it’s important for these companies to balance the digital with the mechanical and keep customers at the centre.

“The auto industry is between two worlds, one is offline, the other online and there will be no fusion of these two worlds in the long run. What we need is an additional dimension. On this dimension both worlds are coexistent and interlocked. It is not yet decided who occupies which place in the new value chain. However, there is no doubt that the customer has to be the centre of this newly emerging orbit,” he said.

The digital ecosystem changes the way customers interact with the car buying process.The digital ecosystem changes the way customers interact with the car buying process.

A new currency in automotive dealerships

For automotive companies across the supply chain, data is becoming the currency that drives both manufacturing and how the final product is being sold to consumers. PwC explains that the shift towards the digital ecosystem has a big influence on existing sales models, meaning dealerships must be aware of both the capabilities of data driven technology and the way this disrupts how customers interact with the sales process.

“Data is gold,” argues KPMG China’s Sector Head of Industrial Manufacturing, Daniel Chan. “Security, trust and ownership are key, and the fact that different cultures handle data differently should be considered.”

Consequently, employing staff with a good understanding of the digital ecosystem and it’s implications for automotive will be essential for dealerships’ long term success. For more information on how to find great staff for your automotive business, click here.