A New Generation of Leaders is Critical to the Future of Automotive

Posted by Natalie Peterson

We live in a world entirely ruled by technology, and younger generations utilize the internet for basically everything. As such, modern car shoppers expect communication to be fast and their experience to be impeccable when shopping for vehicles online. In an ever-changing world of automotive retail, dealers must now learn how to adjust to each and every customer.

One major challenge that dealers have encountered is a generational shift in the way younger shoppers view car ownership. Unlike generations past, these new shoppers typically do not prescribe to the notion that buying the nicest, newest car on the lot is important—such an act is “uncool” to the Gen-Z crowd. Instead, they’re taking advantage of modern technology—conveniences like Bluetooth and navigation—incorporated in affordable late-model vehicles. Add on society’s insistence to transition to cleaner, fuel-efficient electric vehicles, and you’ve got millions of drivers who expect more from the car lot.

With dramatic changes occurring over the years—connected technology, digital and mobile channels and lengthy vehicle lifespans, for instance—it’s no surprise why so many younger shoppers have lofty expectations when visiting the dealership. They’ve grown up in this era. They understand what works and what doesn’t, and researching online comes naturally to them. They can find inventory, pricing, vehicle features and ratings with a few taps of their mobile. And, if interested in a vehicle, they’ll take the steps necessary to get it—whether that means going to a dealership or buying online through retailers like Carvana.

Dealers are addressing younger generations with technology like advanced CRM systems, web chat and more. But how should dealers compete with Carvana and similar online automotive stores?

Utilizing next-gen training methods and emphasizing employee engagement is key for dealers to properly and swiftly adapt to the new age.

reaching and training the next generation

Maritz Automotive, a leader in the automotive industry, became a Premier Sponsor of Northwood University in hopes of helping further the development of that next generation of professionals.

Terry Erwin, SVP of Auto Sector Sales at Maritz Automotive, announced the Maritz Automotive Scholarship for Northwood University students.

“[We] help our automotive clients improve their business results by applying our expertise in behavioral science to drive performance,” says Terry Erwin. “It just makes sense that we understand how the upcoming automotive professionals are preparing for their careers. It’s important to listen to, talk and work with the students who have decided that the automotive business is where they want to be.”

Maritz Automotive team members have conducted classroom discussions with students in Northwood’s Automotive Marketing and Management programs, and those students were asked to write and submit an essay to compete for the scholarship. The winning applicants will be announced in early 2020.

Automotive experts at Northwood University and Maritz Automotive realize that the evolution of auto is coming—and fast. These leaders, including Northwood University graduates and upcoming Maritz Scholarship winners, understand the need to adapt better than anyone, and they’re well-positioned to evolve alongside the new crop of shoppers, ultimately protecting the future of automotive retail.

Topics: Digital Experience