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Automotive manufacturers are not responding to online customers despite declining sales.

BearingPoint Survey shows: 63 percent of online test drive requests in Belgium left unanswered (no response within 4 days)

Brussel, 8 January 2013 – For the last three years BearingPoint has conducted a survey to test how effectively major car brands respond to online test drive requests. The results make depressing reading for the Automotive industry.

The automotive market is facing extreme challenges as the sales of new cars in Belgium have experienced the sharpest decline since 1993. This is no surprise: the question was not if, but by how much car sales would drop. After two record years, automotive sales in Belgium decayed by 14.9 percent, therefore the battle for the customers is intensifying. An important way to acquire new customers, or to sell a new model to existing clients, consists of facilitating test drives.

The survey shows that within Belgium brands have not improved their lead management processes, leaving 63 percent (the European average is 56 percent) of test drive requests unanswered within four days – and 49 percent not contacted at all (no response within the 14 day period of the survey). The expectation of consumers is far higher – with internet shoppers experiencing same or next day response from other industries.

“When you consider the increasing importance of digital channels in the sales cycle and that, on average, one in three to four test drives result in a sale, it is very concerning that the automotive industry isn’t addressing this inherent weakness in their lead management process”, says Christian Batselaere, Automotive Manager at BearingPoint Belgium.

The research demonstrated that despite the fragile economic recovery, there is still universal failure to act upon online test drive requests. The pan-European survey covered 19 brands in seven countries and involved researchers attempting to make more than 2980 test drive requests via car brand web sites. The survey included traditional and emerging high volume markets and brands right across the price spectrum.

Christian Batselaere concludes: “The consistent message of this survey over the past three years is that all car manufacturers, whether volume or premium brands, are missing the opportunity to convert leads generated from their websites. As digital channels become, for many, an integral part of the buying process the automotive industry must address this issue and, based on our research, there is definitely a first mover advantage in doing so. Manufacturers need to take a more holistic approach to lead management embracing their systems, processes and channels to ensure a seamless and efficient experience for prospective car buyers.”

Contact Automotive Belgium

Christian Batselaere, Automotive Manager
M : +32 498 90 53 61
E : christian.batselaere@bearingpoint.com

Diederik Van Nieuwenhove, Customer Management Lead Belgium
M: +32 497 478 619
E: diederik.vannieuwenhove@bearingpoint.com

Press Contact Benelux

Gijs Leeksma, Marketing Coordinator
T : +31 550730434
E : gijs.leeksma@bearingpoint.com