Survey Says

Autolist Survey: Despite economic uncertainty, many car shoppers still expecting to buy in 2020

A new Autolist survey shows that American car buyers are still likely to buy a car in 2020, just not right now.

Photo by Getty Images

As the stock market see-saws between positive and negative territory on an almost daily basis, the chief question for automakers is, "Will people still buy our cars?" There's no need to produce more vehicles if no one has plans to buy the ones already on dealership lots.

A recent Autolist survey of 1,500 current car shoppers found that many had worries about the economy but were still planning on buying a vehicle at some point this year.

Respondents submitted their answers between March 2 and March 24. On March 12, the COVID-19 outbreak was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. The results received between March 2 and 11 were grouped together and those received post-pandemic announcement were grouped separately.

According to Autolist,

"Prior to the pandemic declaration on March 11, 80 percent of the car shoppers Autolist polled said they didn't expect the coronavirus to affect their decision to buy a vehicle in 2020. That number fell to 60 percent for shoppers who responded after the pandemic declaration."

Many automakers are recognizing the road ahead is uphill. They are currently offering heavy incentives and zero percent financing for qualified customers. Still, J.D. Power has revised its new vehicle sales projections for 2020 for 16.8 million sales to between 14 and 16 million, estimating that March sales will end up down around 41 percent from 2019.

Some vehicle sales companies, like Carvana, offer the opportunity to purchase a vehicle online, with very little human-to-human contact. Cadillac recently launched a virtual shopping experience and Ford is promoting low-risk vehicle maintenance services in addition to producing supplies for medical workers to use to help combat the effects of the coronavirus.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The teaser image of the 2027 Kia lineup includes numerous cars and SUVs.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Kia has revealed plans to launch seven new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) by 2027 in numerous segments. The first, code named CV, will launch in 2021 and serve as the kickoff to a new Kia design direction. The move is known internally as the “Plan S" strategy. Under Plan S, Kia's BEV line will include 11 models by 2025.

The announcement coincides with the company's stated goal of having 25 percent of Kia's global sales come from BEVs by 2029. To do that, the company plans to work to expand the world's electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Kia has sold over 100,000 BEVs worldwide since the company introduced its first model in 2011, the Kia Ray.

Kia Ray EV 2011 The Kia Ray was the company's first production EV.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

Plan S includes a company-wide business transformation that will include production, sales, and services. Dealerships will likely be required too invest in equipment to handle the influx of EVs. In the U.S, Kia will increase the number of EV work bays at dealerships to 600 by the end of 2020 and increase the number to more than 2,000 by 2023..

The product plan includes a diverse number of models. The vehicles will include BEVs that are “suitable for urban centers, long-range journeys, and performance driving". They will be based on the company's new adaptable Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP). The platform will allow for best-in-class interior spaciousness, according to Kia.

Though subscription services have not gained widespread popularity in the U.S., the company is exploring the creation of subscription services, as well as EV battery leasing and rental programs. Other “second life" battery-related businesses may be part of the plan as well.

Kia also plans to add around 500 charging stations in North America, partnering with its dealer networks. Further, the company is seeking a partner in North America to support a larger infrastructure buildout.

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The new Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross used the Internet of Things to connect to the My Mitsubishi Connect app

Photo courtesy of Mitsubishi Motors North Americ

Mitsubishi has enlisted Aeris and Dealer-FX to better connect owners to their vehicles. Using integrations with the Aeris Mobility Services and Dealer-FX ONE platforms, the My Mitsubishi Connect mobile app will now enable Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross drivers to view real-time service and maintenance needs, as reported by their vehicles.

The system will push timely notifications from the vehicle to the app and the owner's smart mobile device allowing them to act in a matter of seconds rather than trying to remember that a warning light cane in while operating the vehicle.

"Mitsubishi customers are dreamers, achievers, entrepreneurs – active in their communities and in their family homes, and their time is extremely valuable," said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer of MMNA. "The My Mitsubishi Connect app allows us to enhance their experience, be more efficient with their time and continue to demonstrate our commitment to delivering high quality, top value vehicles with leading-edge technology in the U.S."

This isn't the company's first IoT foray. When it debuted, Mitsubishi Road Assist+ was the first hardware-free, smartphone-based app provided by an OEM that allowed owners to realize the cost savings of usage-based insurance without having to own "connected car" with built-in telematics capabilities or aftermarket-installed telematics hardware.

Mitsubishi continues to grow its presence in the U.S. market. The company recently relocated its headquarters from California to the Nashville, Tennessee area near where Renault-Nissan- Mitsubishi Alliance member Nissan has its North American headquarters.

The company recently announced a partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center to create the Small Batch - Big Ideas Entrepreneur Network, which gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn from Mitsubishi executives, among other benefits.

The My Mitsubishi Connect and Mitsubishi Road Assist+ apps are currently available on the Google Play store and the Apple's App Store for use on Android and iOS devices.

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