The Evolution of Dealership Spins in the Automotive Industry

William Bremer
June 17, 2024
5 min read
Share this post

The Evolution of Dealership Spins in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry is spinning the wheel of transformation, driven by ongoing consolidation, new sales channels, and emerging mobility solutions. Customer expectations for products, services, and experiences are increasing, making it imperative for dealerships to adapt and evolve. The traditional distribution model from manufacturer to dealer to customer is becoming outdated, influenced by trends such as electrification, autonomy, sharing, connectivity, and frequent updates. This article explores the evolution of dealership spins in the automotive industry, highlighting key areas of change and adaptation.

Key Takeaways

  • Dealerships must adapt to shifting customer expectations by embracing digital interactions, personalized experiences, and sustainability initiatives.
  • Electrification is transforming dealership operations, necessitating new maintenance practices, specialized training, and infrastructure investments.
  • Technology plays a crucial role in modern dealerships, with digital sales platforms, advanced diagnostic tools, and customer relationship management systems enhancing operations.
  • New sales channels, including online car sales, subscription-based models, and third-party marketplaces, are reshaping how dealerships reach and serve customers.
  • Consolidation trends, such as mergers and acquisitions, are creating economies of scale and regional dominance, impacting the dealership landscape.

Shifting Customer Expectations in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry has seen a significant shift in customer expectations over the past few decades. Today’s buying public has access to a plethora of worthwhile information that did not exist 25 years ago. With this vital knowledge in hand, customers have become very outspoken about what they expect from both their automakers and dealerships. They insist on being pampered at every level, as car buyers are the ones with cash in hand.

Rise of Digital Interactions

Customers now expect manufacturers and dealers to offer convenient, transparent, and dynamic concepts that allow them to select and buy their new cars online. This shift is inspired and influenced by their experiences in other industries, where digital interactions have become the norm.

Demand for Personalized Experiences

The future of the automotive industry will see car buyers observing hydrogen fuel cells, fully electric engines, and autonomous driving. Automobile manufacturers will focus on creating specialized vehicles for specific individual needs and their imagined car designs. Additionally, individuals’ preferences are shifting to self-driving cars and electric vehicles.

Increased Focus on Sustainability

The ceaseless bombardment of accurate computer-based information has resulted in a wide range of new expectations from the buying public. Over time, these expectations have hardened into unyielding certainties. Understanding the full magnitude and scope of changing market conditions, most import car dealerships have adapted to them. However, domestic dealers have been more reluctant to follow their example.

The automotive industry will shift its gears in upcoming times, focusing more on sustainability and eco-friendly options to meet the growing demand for green vehicles.

Impact of Electrification on Dealership Operations

The shift towards electric vehicles (EVs) is transforming dealership operations in significant ways. Dealerships must adapt to these changes to stay competitive and meet evolving customer needs.

Adapting to EV Maintenance

EVs require different maintenance compared to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. While they have fewer moving parts, they still need regular servicing for items like rubber tires, brakes, and wiper blades. Dealerships pivoted in 2020 with the pandemic, and they will be able to do the same with the EV shift. Technicians need to be proficient in handling software-related issues and set up charging infrastructure to cater to EV owners' needs.

Training for Electric Vehicle Expertise

Training is crucial for dealership staff to become proficient in EV technology. Platforms like CloudPano offer training on virtual vehicle spins, camera usage, VDP uploading, and CloudPano Live for sales teams. This ensures that the staff is well-equipped to handle the unique challenges posed by EVs. Cutting-edge technician training is essential to keep the service drive efficient and effective.

Infrastructure Investments

Investing in the right infrastructure is vital for supporting EVs. Dealerships need to set up charging stations and ensure they have the necessary tools and equipment for EV maintenance. This not only attracts more EV customers but also provides additional services and convenience. Proper procedures for responsibly recycling and disposing of EV batteries are also important to consider.

As the car repair business changes, the marketing strategies must evolve accordingly. Consistent engagement with customers through traditional and digital mediums is the only way to stay top of mind for customers ready for service.

The Role of Technology in Modern Dealerships

Technology is revolutionizing the way dealerships operate, making processes more efficient and enhancing the customer experience. Dealerships must utilize the latest trends in the industry without losing that personal touch.

Digital Sales Platforms

Digital sales platforms are transforming the car buying process. These platforms allow customers to browse, customize, and purchase vehicles online, providing a seamless and convenient experience. Dealerships should also leverage technology to improve the customer experience with features like online appointment scheduling, text message updates, and mobile payments.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools

Advanced diagnostic tools are essential for modern dealerships. These tools help in quickly identifying and fixing issues, thereby reducing the time customers spend waiting for their vehicles to be serviced. Investing in new technology and tools can streamline processes and optimize staffing levels, maximizing revenue by running an efficient operation.

Customer Relationship Management Systems

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are crucial for maintaining and enhancing customer relationships. These systems help dealerships keep track of customer interactions, preferences, and service history, enabling personalized and efficient service. Online customer service processes are becoming increasingly important, and dealerships need to step up in offering these online conveniences.

The ease of purchasing and repairing a car will allow dealerships more time to spend personally connecting with customers.

Dealerships can maximize their revenue by running an efficient operation and exploring ways to reduce costs and increase efficiency within the service department.

New Sales Channels and Their Influence

Online Car Sales

The rise of digital interactions has revolutionized the way cars are sold. Dealerships are increasingly adopting online sales platforms to meet the growing demand for convenience and efficiency. These platforms allow customers to browse, customize, and purchase vehicles from the comfort of their homes. This shift not only broadens the customer base but also reduces overhead costs for dealerships.

Subscription-Based Models

Subscription-based models are gaining traction as an alternative to traditional car ownership. These models offer flexibility and convenience, allowing customers to switch vehicles based on their needs. This approach caters to the evolving expectations of modern consumers who prioritize experience over ownership. Dealerships are leveraging these models to attract a younger, more dynamic customer base.

Third-Party Marketplaces

Third-party marketplaces have become a significant sales channel for dealerships. Platforms like cloudpano - onboarding - pro plus business. pathname: /onboarding/steele-automotive/spin. training on virtual vehicle spins, camera usage, uploading to vdps, and cloudpano live for sales teams. These marketplaces provide dealerships with access to a broader audience and offer tools for virtual tours and detailed vehicle listings. Easily integrate virtual tours with top platforms like Zillow and This integration is ideal for both real estate and automotive industries, enhancing the customer experience and driving sales.

As these newer options become more accessible to businesses and customers, dealers will need to pivot with innovation to stay in front of their customers.

Consolidation Trends in the Dealership Landscape

Mergers and Acquisitions

The dealer landscape is already changing, due to ongoing consolidation. Mergers and acquisitions have become a common strategy for dealerships looking to expand their market presence and achieve greater operational efficiencies. This trend is driven by the need to adapt to the evolving automotive industry, which is spinning the automotive wheel of transformation.

Economies of Scale

As dealerships merge, they benefit from economies of scale. This means they can reduce costs by purchasing in bulk, streamlining operations, and leveraging shared resources. The traditional car trade distribution scheme from the manufacturer to the dealer and on to the customer seems to have become an outdated model, driven by different trends.

Regional Dominance

Consolidation also allows dealerships to achieve regional dominance. By acquiring smaller dealerships, larger entities can control a significant portion of the market in a specific area. This not only increases their market share but also enhances their bargaining power with manufacturers and suppliers.

These trends may fundamentally reshape the automotive value chain, drastically impacting the economics of the dealer. Potentially disruptive trends across the industry will continue to accelerate and will require dealers to respond in how they position their businesses in the future.

Adapting Marketing Strategies for the Future

In today's digital age, where customers have access to vast amounts of information and options, traditional marketing approaches alone may not yield optimal results. A strong digital strategy must be implemented to stay competitive and maximize revenue in fixed operations marketing. Businesses must stay attuned to changing consumer behaviors and adapt their strategies accordingly.

Leveraging Social Media

Social media platforms offer a unique opportunity to engage with customers on a personal level. By creating engaging content and utilizing targeted ads, businesses can reach a broader audience. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow for direct interaction with customers, fostering a sense of community and loyalty.

Data-Driven Marketing

Data and analytics play a crucial role in understanding customer behavior, preferences, and trends. By leveraging data from various sources, businesses can identify patterns, segment their customer base, and develop targeted marketing campaigns. Analyzing data can also help identify gaps in service offerings, allowing businesses to tailor their strategies effectively.

Customer Education Initiatives

Educating customers about new products and services is essential for building trust and loyalty. This can be achieved through various means such as webinars, workshops, and informative blog posts. Providing valuable information helps customers make informed decisions and positions the business as a thought leader in the industry.

As newer options become more accessible to businesses and customers, dealers will need to pivot with innovation to stay in front of their customers.

Emergence of New Mobility Solutions

Car Sharing Services

Car sharing services have become increasingly popular in urban areas, offering a cost-effective alternative to traditional car ownership. Shared mobility not only reduces the financial burden on consumers but also contributes to a more sustainable environment. Auto manufacturers are partnering with companies that offer shared mobile services to adapt and stay up with the trend.

Ride-Hailing Platforms

Ride-hailing platforms like Uber and Lyft have revolutionized the way people commute. These services provide a convenient and often more affordable option compared to traditional taxis. The rise of ride-hailing platforms has also led to a shift in consumer preferences, with many opting for these services over owning a personal vehicle.

Autonomous Vehicle Fleets

The future of mobility is set to be transformed by autonomous vehicle fleets. These self-driving cars promise to offer a new level of convenience and safety. As technology advances, we can expect to see more autonomous vehicles on the road, further changing the landscape of urban transportation.

The dealer landscape is already changing, due to ongoing consolidation, the use of new sales channels, and the emergence of new forms of mobility. In addition, customer expectations of the products, services, and experiences offered by the car trade will also increase.

The emergence of new mobility solutions is revolutionizing the way we travel, offering more efficient, sustainable, and convenient options. Stay ahead of the curve and explore the latest trends and innovations in mobility on our website at Don't miss out on the future of transportation!


The automotive industry is spinning the wheel of transformation, driven by trends such as electrification, autonomy, shared mobility, connectivity, and continuous updates. These changes are reshaping the traditional dealership model, pushing it towards new sales channels and innovative forms of mobility. As customer expectations evolve, dealerships must adapt by embracing new technologies, fostering transparency, and prioritizing ethical practices. The shift towards electric vehicles and the ongoing consolidation within the industry present both challenges and opportunities. Dealerships that can pivot and innovate will not only survive but thrive in this dynamic landscape. The future of automotive dealerships lies in their ability to stay ahead of the curve, ensuring they meet the ever-changing needs of their customers while maintaining consistent engagement through both traditional and digital mediums.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are customer expectations evolving in the automotive industry?

Customer expectations are evolving due to increased digital interactions, demand for personalized experiences, and a focus on sustainability.

What impact does electrification have on dealership operations?

Electrification impacts dealership operations by necessitating adaptations in EV maintenance, requiring specialized training for electric vehicle expertise, and demanding infrastructure investments.

How is technology transforming modern dealerships?

Technology is transforming modern dealerships through the use of digital sales platforms, advanced diagnostic tools, and customer relationship management systems.

What new sales channels are influencing the automotive industry?

New sales channels such as online car sales, subscription-based models, and third-party marketplaces are influencing the automotive industry.

What trends are driving consolidation in the dealership landscape?

Consolidation trends in the dealership landscape are driven by mergers and acquisitions, economies of scale, and regional dominance.

How are marketing strategies adapting to future trends in the automotive industry?

Marketing strategies are adapting by leveraging social media, employing data-driven marketing, and initiating customer education programs.

Share this post
William Bremer

360 Virtual Tours With Get Started Today.

Try it free. No credit card required. Instant set-up.

Try it free