Report Finds technology and customer feedback remain critical to improving the increasingly digital car-buying experience in Europe
LIVERPOOL, U.K., 11th October, 2021 – Reputation, the global leader in reputation experience management (RXM), today unveiled findings from its annual automotive industry report, which looks at key industry trends from the past year and ranks the top auto brands, dealerships and dealer groups in Europe. This comes after a whirlwind year for the automotive industry, which saw pandemic uncertainty, surging demand and eroding margins due to a global semiconductor chip shortage.
The 2021 Automotive Report analysed more than 15,000 automotive brands and dealerships across Europe, and 20,000 more in North America. Key findings include:
- Reviews are more important than ever and 2021 review volume is higher than ever. Nearly 80% of consumers say reviews are important and 41% say they will read at least five reviews before visiting a dealership.
- Inventory shortages are top of mind for customers. Reviews mentioning shortages have increased 32.6x from January 2021 to July 2021.
- Reviews and star ratings drive customer leads. 64% of consumers surveyed say they would travel more than 20 miles to a top-rated dealership.
- Customer service is the main driver of positive ratings for auto dealerships. Despite the rise of digital, buying a car remains a largely human-centered, face-to-face experience. 65% of car shoppers told us they are influenced significantly by in-person visits.
- Price is the top driver of negative ratings. Dealerships need to manage consumers’ expectations about prices during the inventory shortage when demand is outstripping supply. 82% of consumers we surveyed with YouGov said price is an important consideration, more than any other factor.
“Like most other industries, the automotive industry continues to face significant challenges as the fallout from the pandemic continues. The best strategy during this uncertain time is for brands and dealer groups to lean into digital tools and customer feedback to ensure a seamless CX,” said Anthony Gaskell, managing director, EMEA at Reputation. “The Reputation automotive report provides brand and dealer group rankings that illustrate why this strategy works — and how tools like Reputation can support their CX objectives.”
The Great Transition for the Automotive Industry
Car sales surged during the first half of 2021, despite the global semiconductor chip shortage that sent car prices rising to their highest in history. Now, unfortunately, this chip shortage promises to stunt supply, potentially costing the global auto industry almost double its initial projection of $110 billion.
Buying a car continues to be an in-person experience, and can influence which dealership to buy from. Our data confirms this, with 65% of our respondents indicating they’re significantly influenced by in-person visits. However, the pandemic has changed how and where customers feel comfortable interacting with brands, with online as the preferred choice during COVID-19.
This backdrop has only accelerated the use of digital tools among car buyers, especially in the early stages of the customer journey. Upon analysing Google My Business (GMB) traffic, along with more than 4.8 million ratings/reviews across dealer websites, social media channels and GMB listings, Reputation found that the volume of reviews in 2021 continues to climb, reflecting shoppers’ comfort with relying on digital word-of-mouth. In fact, according to our study with YouGov, nearly 80% of consumers say that reviews are important in their selection of a car dealership, and 41% say they read at least five reviews before visiting a dealership. Average star ratings have increased or held steady in 2020, GMB actions and views have increased (4% and 15%, respectively) since August 2020, with click-to-website the most common action taken by consumers.
Additionally, industry innovation is growing in popularity. Our data shows a significant increase in electric vehicle (EV) reviews since 2020, with consistent sentiment. The uptick in reviews can be tied to an increase in EV sales and heightened public interest.
“We are delighted to have achieved the biggest growth of any other automotive brand in the last 12 months.This is testament to the great work carried out by the team within Renault UK Customer Experience combined with the fantastic levels of engagement seen throughout our dealer network,” said Verity Mercer, Head of Customer Experience and Quality, Groupe Renault UK. “Our retailers have quickly recognised the role that online review presence and good listings management can play in driving positive customer experience. E-reputation management will continue to be a core element in our customer excellence plans for Renault, Dacia and Alpine brands in 2022.”
European Automotive Rankings:
|Top 5 Brands (By Country)|
|Top 5 Dealerships (By Country)|
1. Autohaus Strobel OHG
2. Auto-Epple Erich Epple Rutesheim
3. Autohaus Nobis GmbH & Co. KG
4. Auto Reißland GmbH
5. Autohaus Hansa Nord Oldenburg
Reputation (formerly Reputation.com), creator of the Reputation Experience Management category, is changing the way companies gather and act on customer feedback to drive decision making and enhance Customer Experience (CX) programs. Reputation’s interaction-to-action platform translates vast amounts of solicited and unsolicited feedback data into prescriptive insights that companies use to learn from and grow. Thousands of global organizations rely on the patented algorithms behind Reputation Score X™ to provide a reliable index of brand performance in order to make targeted business improvements. Backed by Bessemer Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, and trusted by over 250 integration partners, including Google, Facebook, Salesforce, J.D. Power, Amazon and Web.com, Reputation turns feedback into the fuel to grow businesses around the world. Visit reputation.com to learn more.