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Connected cars will provide information to new automotive competitors as well

The increasing sophistication of automotive IT systems is changing traditional patterns in car retailing, according to a German study.

Driver assistance and communication systems that are set to become standard in all cars already are transmitting a broad range of information about driving patterns, driving habits and other vehicle usage statistics.

These transmissions don't go to dealers, but are sent mostly to automakers and this leads to a relationship between car companies and drivers that will be closer in future than it has been until now.

That is one of the conclusions of the study "Effects of car IT on automobile sales and service," which was conducted by Germany's IFA Institute for the Automotive Industry in cooperation with consultants MHP.

"Through the information and communications systemsin the car, auto manufacturers will in future know more about their customers than in the past," the study said. "That will also give them a chance to address customers earlier and with a more targeted message about the purchase of a new car or a service appointment."

But closer ties between automakers and car buyers are just one of the changes resulting from the automotive IT revolution.

IFA head Willi Diez, who was in charge of the study, said the increased availability of digital information about a car and its driver also opens up opportunities for other automotive service providers. "Whoever gets in touch with the customer first about a possible requirement has the best chances to get the order," Diez said.

The study notes that automakers are forging closer ties with IT companies to make sure they maintain the relationship with their customers. A failure to do so would mean lost revenue opportunities as well as increased competition from new companies seeking automotive business, the study said.

Said MHP CEO Ralf Hofmann: "I'm convinced that differentiation through car IT will in coming years be one of the biggest drivers of growth in the auto industry." MHP is a subsidiary of Porsche.