2020 Tech innovation in Automotive industry.

Since the pandemic started, the automotive market has entered a crisis all over the world! In France, for the first ten months of 2020, sales of new vehicles dropped down by nearly 26.9% compared to 2019.

Being passionate about the automotive industry, I wanted share insights from my recent research about the use of new digital sales channels such as online shopping initiated by Tesla, the livestream used by Peugeot, augmented reality by BMW Group and finally the surprising initiative of Volkswagen AG in Australia to build a car dealership available at your fingertips.

There was initially a collapse in sales of new passenger vehicles with a shift in sales to the second-hand market. The peak reached in April 2020, with sales up to 88.8% compared to April 2019.

This phenomenon is explained by the delays in deliveries, difficulties in registering new vehicles and the closure of car dealerships. To overcome the closure of car dealerships and the shift towards used vehicles, online sales channels had to be developed.

Selling new vehicles online is a concept initiated a few years ago by TeslaIn 2019, Elon Musk  then said he wanted to sell his Tesla on the web only, while keeping a few showrooms in strategic places.

The covid-19 crisis accelerated the trend, and so, other car makers started selling new cars online. Manufacturers like Peugeot, which launched its Peugeot Store in April 2020. 

3D auto show and a Livestream by Peugeot:

Then in October 2020, following the cancellation of the Paris Motor Show, Peugeot innovated again to offer, first a 3D auto show with the aim of presenting its novelties and secondly a showroom. live. Inspired by Livestream shopping, this real showroom in which there are very real vehicles, product experts and e-sellers, is then distributed online, where customers have the possibility of interacting remotely and making their purchase on spot. 

automotive livestream

Augmented Reality by BMW Group:

This livestream solution then makes it possible to find the exchanges in real time as in concession but it’s limited in terms of customization.

So for brands, another way to allow customers to see themselves while offering a real customer experience is the use of augmented reality. As a reminder, augmented reality refers to a virtual interface, in 2D or 3D, which enriches reality by superimposing additional information on it. It allows in a chosen environment to project a virtual object, an animation, a text or any data. In the 1980s, it was used in association with virtual reality by Renaut, but only for research and development. It was not until 2018 that BMW offered the general public a complete immersive application offering the use of augmented reality to configure a vehicle. 

“To help BMW revolutionize the car shopping experience, BMW i Visualize is an augmented reality solution designed to support sales, attract new types of consumers passionate about new technologies, and bring customers closer to dealerships through digital technology. "


thanks to Google Tango technologies, the application allows you to view, explore and configure a full-size virtual vehicle in all types of places:

AR app by BMW

Augmented Reality combined with eCommerce by Volkswagen: 

Although BMW application marks a turning point in the use of augmented reality for the general automotive industry, it does not allow customers to purchase remotely.

So, why not to combine an immersive experience and online sales? This initiative is taken by Volkswagen in Australia by presenting the smallest car dealership in the world.

 49% of Australian consumers would like to use augmented reality while shopping online to get a better idea of ​​a product. And after being surprised by the success of their online car sales, Volkswagen Australia wanted to make online car buying easier and more fun by designing this “mobile” mini-dealership and distributing a QR code from their website.

After a simple scan of the code, customers can choose several options of vehicle configuration. As soon as the customer is satisfied with his choice, he then has the possibility of clicking on the online store to complete the purchase.

Of course, in normal times, before buying a new vehicle, it is recommended to go to your dealership for a test drive and to be advised verbally by a salesperson. However, these innovations, beyond responding to a temporary problem, make it possible to provide long-term benefits; additional experience for potential buyers, and, for car manufacturers, 

Actors and enthusiasts of the automotive and / or digital world, I would be delighted to have your opinion and to discuss in the comments on the impact and usefulness of these technologies for the sale of new vehicles.
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Edouard Dezellus
Digital Consultant at ITFAQ Global