Automotive Market Research and Car Clinics

Automotive Market Research

Around the world, automotive companies compete fiercely for customers and sales in markets that are increasingly demanding and sophisticated.

Mobile Technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), Autonomous Vehicles, Ridesharing and Digital Disruption will massively impact innovations in cars. Furthermore, new Market Research methodologies can uncover the insight and data to transform your strategy for uncontested competitive advantage.

The Importance of Automotive Market Research

Automotive Market Research supports organizations with the insight and data to conceptualize, manufacture and customize vehicles to the desires and perceptions of their customers. Research also guides the development of new advertisements, messaging and marketing materials. As new technologies are increasingly being included in vehicle products, innovation is an important priority for many car manufacturers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).

Automotive Market Research and Car Clinics

Connectivity and technology pose the question of whether it’s essential to own a vehicle. Ride-sharing is an obvious example. Consumers pay for the use of a car only as needed. However, they sacrifice the benefits and responsibilities of individual ownership. Another Digital Disruptor is Autonomous Vehicles, which are on the horizon. Vehicles are increasingly coming equipped with smart technologies. 

The last few years have seen the rise of Connected Cars, causing manufacturers to integrate Big Data, Cloud Computing, and the Internet of Things in car designs. Automakers, more than ever, need to predict consumer demand, preferences and trends. The largest source of revenue for automakers is still consumer sales. Market Research ultimately uncovers consumer trends, tastes and behavior and is therefore a high priority for industry players.

Focus Groups

A Focus Group is a useful method of qualitative market research. This method is an efficient and inexpensive way to uncover deep insights into buying and driver behavior. These vibrant discussions discuss, debate and justify their opinions.

Qualitative research methods such as In-Depth Interviews (IDIs) or Focus Group discussions (FGDs) may be used to reveal various perceptions of the tested vehicles. Quantitative methods such as surveys may also be used to provide data.

Car Clinics

One way to gain more input about the opinions and preferences from the customer’s point of view is the “Car Clinic.” A Car Clinic is a market test in which customers provide in-depth feedback on a new concept or existing car model. The automaker shows between four and eight competing brands and models to the consumer. These vehicles are placed in a showroom for consumers to view and provide feedback. Car Clinics can be Dynamic (involving motion), or Static (involving stationary prototypes or test materials).

Automakers conduct car clinics at different times for varying purposes. The most common goal is assessing and learning how to improve new models. Another objective of conducting a car clinic is to understand buying processes among competing car models.  Additional factors can be tested.  During a typical car clinic, respondents may have the opportunity to experience vehicle design, performance, interior/exterior and competitor test materials.  Respondents may also be asked to test drive vehicles in a Dynamic Car Clinic to evaluate vehicle performance.

What a Car Clinic can uncover

  • Design preferences

  • Improvements

  • Performance

  • Interior/exterior experience

  • Segmentation insights

  • Marketing messaging

  • Pricing insights

  • Market positioning

  • Competitive insights

Online Car Clinics are efficient & useful.

Online car clinics are most suitable for:

  • benchmark clinics

  • external design evaluation

  • vehicle interior equipment and supplies evaluation

  • market positioning

  • early vehicle development phases during which vehicle prototypes are limited

  • research of factors that might not be revealed during static car clinics

  • as an additional car clinic technique

New Research Methods

Technological advances have made it possible to take focus group research online. Web 2.0 and new technology platforms allow automakers to reach hard to contact consumers. Automakers also have new tools available to them. They can also use Online Insight Communities and Online Focus Groups.

Another new method is Eye Tracking, which produces gaze trails and heat maps. Researchers are also conducting eye tracking exercises in Virtual Reality environments. Such a setting makes it easier to record participants’ physiological responses to products. Reactions include electrodermal activity, brain state, and so forth.

Automotive Market Research Solutions

SIS International Research continues to maintain a strong business affiliation with clients in the automotive industry. Our over 35 years of experience has provided us with unmatched insight into the wants and needs of consumers, and the inner-workings of competitors.

We provide organizations with accurate prognostication of emerging trends and critical feedback from the very people who drive their vehicles and use their products. With offices worldwide, we conduct Automotive Research in China, Europe, and the United States.

Our Automotive Research and Strategy solutions include:

  • Car Clinics
  • Focus Groups
  • Usability Testing
  • Test Driving
  • Online Insight Communities
  • Market Opportunity Research
  • Market Entry & Sizing Assessments
  • Competitive Analysis