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The Post-pandemic Automotive Industry: What Consumers Want and Expect

The pandemic has changed and continues to change society to this day. If Americans thought of cars to be a necessity before the pandemic, it has become almost essential now. Owning a vehicle means people can go anywhere at any time and won’t have to risk their health in public transportation. And because of this benefit, car sales were on the rise during the pandemic.

Sales is not the only thing that experienced change during the pandemic. The preferences and expectations on cars also changed. Below are some things that the automotive industry should expect consumers to look for when buying a car.

Virtual Experience

In 2020, car shows went virtual since people were not allowed to converge in a single venue like before. Car shows are often streamed live. And replays become available hours after the stream has ended. Apart from virtual shows, virtual car tours have also become the norm. Buyers can watch videos online or look at 3D virtual tours to see all the features of the car models they’re interested in.

These virtual elements are very well-appreciated by consumers. They can look at new car models in the comfort of their own homes. They can also attend as many car shows as they want since distance is no longer a problem. As a result, consumers can make more informed buying decisions.

Contactless Buying Process

Apart from virtual car shows and tours, the pandemic has introduced the contactless buying experience to consumers. They don’t need to go to a dealership to get a car. Everything can be done online and through other forms of communication, such as voice and video calls, email, and postal mail.

If they want to test drive a vehicle, it will be taken to them. Or interested buyers can drop by to pick up the test drive car from the dealership. The same options are offered at the end of the buying process. A consumer can do a curbside pickup of their vehicle or choose a home delivery option.

Some may prefer buying a car through face-to-face interactions. This does give buyers assurance that they’re not being scammed. But the contactless buying process offers convenience that is hard to ignore. Thus, in the post-pandemic world, consumers will likely continue to make their car buying experience completely virtual and contactless.

car driving along a curved road

EV and Hybrid Preference

The automotive industry’s supply chain was blocked for a few months at the beginning of the pandemic. So consumers went for used cars since new cars were unavailable. Others chose to purchase non-conventional modes of transportation. For example, some consumers turned to utility vehicles such as the Can-Am quad bikes since they serve two purposes: they can be used for fun and basic transportation.

But two crowd favorites during the pandemic are electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. These are more energy-efficient and more environment-friendly. And since they can be powered by electricity, car owners don’t need to stop by gas stations and interact with others. They can just power up their cars at home.

Better Air Filters

One of the safety features that consumers look forward to having in their vehicles is a HEPA-standard cabin air filter. It’s the number one safety feature that Americans want according to a survey by a car company.

Not all vehicles have HEPA-standard air filters. They are effective in filtering bacteria and viruses and will improve the air quality in vehicles. And this is why consumers will expect this in new cars post-pandemic. These air filters will add another layer of safety against coronaviruses.

PPE Console

Another safety feature that consumers want their vehicles to have is a console built especially for personal protective equipment. This is another feature included in the consumers’ wishlist in the survey referenced earlier.

In the console, a car owner should be able to store their masks, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, and other disinfectants. The console should be easy to reach to make protective equipment more accessible to drivers. It may also have a phone sanitizer.

This additional feature will prove valuable to car owners, especially to people who work for ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft, or those who often carpool with colleagues and friends. The console will help them keep their vehicle clean and safe.

The pandemic has drastically changed many things. As is the case in the automotive industry. Car manufacturers and dealers will have to take note of all the things that consumers expect and appreciate in the industry. This knowledge will help them in improving practices and products for the growth of the industry.

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