They’re young, tech-savvy and have little use for tradition.
Millennials are smashing existing societal and economic structures as they lead the age of disruption.
For auto dealers, this demographic group is spawning a new breed of online competitors that thrive outside the traditional bricks-and-mortar business model.
In suburban Halifax, N.S., Stephen Seibel and his partners launched clutch.ca, a virtual used-vehicle dealership that allows customers to conduct the entire transaction online.
Seibel has zero experience in the auto industry, but he knows technology, and he knows his market.
Millennials seek an “Amazon-type,” buying experience, Seibel told Automotive News Canada Calgary Correspondent Doug Firby. “They want the fewest points of contact [with a dealership] as possible.”
U.S.-based YourMechanic.com, which invites consumers to “skip the repair shop,” recently expanded its mobile car repair network to Toronto, with plans to “grow our presence beyond that,” said spokeswoman Valerie Demicheva.
Founded in 2012 and headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., YourMechanic bills itself as an alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar repair shops, fueled by a network of freelance technicians who provide on-site repair, maintenance and diagnostic services. South of the border, it now offers repair and maintenance services — summoned by smartphone — in 3,000 U.S. cities.
In a September interview with sibling publication Automotive News, YourMechanic CEO Anthony In a September interview with sibling publication domain,” said the report, titled “Driving the Road Ahead.”
“Competitors can present a credible business case to consumers to lure them away from franchised dealers.”
But another reason accounts for their growth: Their consumer-direct model allows them to successfully foster the customer relationship and “gain potential long-term customer loyalty,” the CADA report said.
What does this mean for franchised dealers? The report encourages retailers to follow the lead taken by automakers that have struck strategic joint ventures with tech companies and forge partnerships with “certain third parties.”
In other words: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.