Mobility shift will ‘destroy traditional brand loyalties’

14 October 2016

-Autovista Intelligence Analyst Team

Manufacturers risk losing the customer loyalty and brand awareness they have been building for generations as the world adopts to new mobility solutions. The claim by industry consultant James Carter, from Vision Mobility, is part of an intense industry debate about the disruptive impact of mobility and autonomous vehicles. Carter claims that as consumers opt for access to transport through mobility services instead of car ownership, they will break key links in the brand loyalty chain to the manufacturer, such as the dealer experience. People will have a stronger relationship with the technology that enables their journey than the vehicle itself.

An early example is Uber, where customers prioritise the user experience on their smartphones ahead of the brand of car they travel in. Carter argues that autonomous motoring will distance consumers even further from original equipment manufacturers. Self-driving cars mean there is no unique driving experience for owners and the technology will enable a huge increase in autonomous mobility services that remove the need for ownership in most segments, except luxury cars where wealthy purchasers may want to own vehicles to reflect their status.

Carter adds that future generations will name an app provider or mobility service more readily than a vehicle manufacturer. He said: ′New mobility will likely have a very negative impact on mainstream automotive brands. The car will no longer be the brand, it will become the platform on which other brands are promoted.’

Michael Robinson, chief executive officer of automotive design firm ED Design, disagreed with Carter’s predictions during a LinkedIn debate. Robinson argued that manufacturers are ′fight[ing] tooth and nail to keep existing customers’ by owning the very services that threaten them, so they can control the end-to-end user experience. He said: ′The brand threat is a very real one, but some automakers are changing their core businesses; changing their business models; changing their decision-making processes; fully aware that if they don’t, they will be eaten alive by fast-acting IT companies who will beat them to digital service sales which will replace present hardware sales.’

The development of the autonomous and mobility markets is covered in a series of reports from Autovista Intelligence that are available at