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Contrary to popular belief, the automotive industry is not one which is relegated merely to cars – in fact, it refers to any motor vehicle whether it be one with four wheels, eight wheels, or two wheels. As an industry, the automotive world is constantly on the rise as manufacturers consistently roll out new products with updated aesthetics, modern features and innovative solutions to everyday problems – taking industry trends and using them to drive forward new designs and ideas. A primary example of this is of course the rise in electric vehicles which is fast becoming the trend of the decade; with local governments and manufacturers providing various grants and allowances in a bid to drive more consumers towards going green and trading in their classic fuel vehicles for those charged on electricity.
But, as already identified, it isn’t all about cars. The automotive industry also deals with motorbikes and lorries; commercial vans and even motorised wheelchairs – all of which are designed and used for various purposes and which appeal to different target audiences. And with the automotive industry so intrinsically linked with modern life and the ways in which consumers transport themselves, their families, and their goods from point A to point B, demand has never been higher.
The growth of the automotive industry
The term automotive dates back to 1898 when it was first used in reference to automobiles, by pairing together the Greek words ‘autos’ meaning ‘self’, and ‘motivus’ meaning ‘motion’. Since then, the industry has expanded in line with technological advancement, first capitalising on the invention of horseless carriages and gradually adapting to create vehicles which were smaller and more reliable – as well as safer.
In fact, safety forms a large part of the growth of the automotive industry, with many of the most modern innovations in the industry being created in line with safety measures above all else which ensure that users, operators and manufacturers are all able to perform their roles within the industry as a whole without coming to any harm. This is because the automotive industry in its entirety references not just the end vehicle and its user, but also the process of designing, manufacturing and testing the vehicle in line with modern design trends, safety measures and user friendly features.
On to the growth of the industry, and this is where mainstream media and various trends come into play – particularly with regards to the rise in various automotive sectors being viewed as modern and high end as well as functional and versatile. Where once the national and international supply system was built on the use of boats and waterways to transport goods from one location to another, the rise in the automotive industry meant that suddenly the transportation of goods could be achieved through more accessible vehicles – giving rise to industrial hubs located in city centres rather than coastal docks, and enabling more businesses and companies to invest in global trends and products to support their propositions and drive consumer demand. From then on, the automotive industry was both highly functional and hugely versatile – and as vehicles were developed and manufacturers started to pay more attention to aesthetics and designs, they also became more stylish.
Another area responsible for the growth of the automotive industry is the rise in business vehicles and the reliance on vans in particular for a series of business ventures – from food vans and trucks, to moving companies, gardeners, and private hire vans. What this area of the industry has done is create entire businesses and livelihoods from the provision of automotive vehicles, with the versatility of such vehicles giving consumers the freedom to take their business proposition on the road and serve different target consumers and audiences. A great example of this is the popular ice cream van concept, a family favourite in summer which has become nationally recognised through the whimsical tune that the van plays as it drives through communities and streets enticing consumers to come and buy an ice cream. While the product and profit itself comes from the sale of ice cream which has nothing to do with the automotive industry, the business would not be possible without the vehicle.
Top retailers and brands in the automotive industry
Whether you are looking for a car, a business van, or a motorised wheelchair, the most popular retailers from which consumers can buy automotive products are split into two categories: new vehicles and used vehicles. The automotive industry is one of the most prominent industries with regards to second-hand goods, with a huge variety of used car dealerships and ecommerce businesses operating solely on the sale of used cars, vans and other vehicles. This is because as an industry, the automotive sector is consistent in its release of new and upgraded products on a regular basis, actively encouraging consumers to trade in older and used vehicles to gain money off of newer models – handing their discarded products to dealerships which can resell them for affordable prices to the used vehicle market.
One of the major things to note with regards to the used car market is the fact that more and more consumers are turning to electric vehicles as a standard – with environmental concerns around petrol and diesel vehicles meaning that the demand for very old cars and vans is slowly decreasing. This is further exacerbated by the rise in taxes against older vehicles, particularly around major cities which are making moves towards becoming greener and more environmentally friendly.
For those shopping for used cars, vans, farm machinery and other vehicles, the main retailers to focus on include:
- The AA
- Plus, the broad variety of sole operator used car dealerships across the nation.
Buying a new car or automotive vehicle is a very different experience, and one which is far more reliant on the consumer preferences with regards to additional features and aesthetic details – for example added branding which businesses might project and print onto the side of vans, and motifs and sponsor logos which riders may choose to place on the body of their motorbikes.
The top retailers associated with buying a new car or other vehicle tend to be dependent on the brand of vehicle required; with most stocking only their new models in showrooms across the world in order to provide direct consumer experiences which are fully controlled by the brand from start to finish. Top brands operating these kinds of showrooms include:
- Mercedes Benz
- Mini Cooper
To make consumer interaction with each of these brands a globally successful enterprise, most of the major names in the industry operate through a series of franchises which can be opened by local business dealers and which essentially provide the complete branded experience in a specific community run by a dedicated brand ambassador of sorts. These franchises all work under fixed prices and marketing campaigns, with no room for discounts or deals – all committing to follow the leadership of the headquarters of their brand.
Trends in the automotive industry
When we start to look at what drives the automotive industry forward in the eyes of consumers, it quickly becomes clear that the most prominent trends and features are those which make the industry appeal to the interest and entertainment of captive consumers. A great example of this is the rise in mainstream entertainment shows which focus on different areas of the automotive industry and turn cars and other motorbike products into consumer-friendly feature shows - for example the very famous Top Gear show which explores new cars, creates fun challenges out of old vehicles, and puts a host of famous faces behind the wheel of various vehicles in order to create light entertainment which is informative for the captive automotive audience but which is also entertaining for those simply looking for a laugh.
Another way that mainstream media has changed the way that consumers view vehicles is by giving them a form of status which extends above and beyond the versatility and usability of various vehicles. We are of course referring to the movie status of cars, motorbikes and trains – ranging from the classic James Bond cars, through to the iconic Orient Express train, to the infamous motorbike chases which occur in every action packed thriller on the modern cinema screen. The fact is that these kinds of showcases of the automotive industry make various vehicles and various brands within the industry look high end, classy and elegant – and thus create a huge consumer demand from those who want to emanate that same vibe. No longer are vehicles just about getting from A to B – now they are all about how the consumer looks while they get there, with the most modern vehicles taking into account safety and usability but also channelling great focus into the aesthetic appearance of vehicles and those features which elevate an ordinary car or bike into something spectacular.
Similarly, the rise in the televising of competitive motor sports is another trend which is having a huge impact on the notoriety and popularity of the industry with consumers of all ages, with F1 and MotoGP both offering great insights into the world of motor sport and the growth rate of such sports among a global fanbase. These sports have become so popular that children grow up wanting to be race car drivers and motorbike riders, and some of the world’s largest betting sites advertise excellent odds for every major event – a sure sign that the racing sector of the automotive industry has hit a large following.
Another trend in the automotive industry is of course the rise in electric cars and electric vehicles, designed to create more sustainable vehicles which will no longer add to the destruction of the planet and which instead use electrical energy as a means of fuel. The rise in electric vehicles, as we have already mentioned earlier, is one which is heavily supported by local governments and leading parties, with the UK and London especially already implementing allowances and grants for those who choose to upgrade to an electric vehicle, while adding extra penalties for those who drive through the city centre in diesel or petrol vehicles. The aim of the capital is to eliminate all non-electric cars within the next decade – by creating affordable deals which make electric cars all the more attractive to consumers. This also extends to working and company vehicles such as vans and lorries and is also becoming more prominent across commercial public vehicles like buses as well. This is met with the rise in companies doing their bit to promote lift sharing, again in an effort to curb the pollution to the planet by rewarding those employees which team up and travel to work together; creating new initiatives which are designed to transform employees attitudes to their automotive vehicles and to make commutes more cost and environmentally effective.
To look at the automotive industry as a whole means to look beyond the car, van or motorised wheelchair – all the way back to its design and construction. As an industry, the automotive world is one dominated by technology and change, constantly adapting not just to new trends and consumer demands, but also to official regulations and safety precautions; taking into account the design features which are required to make sure a vehicle is as safe as possible, and adapting designs in line with the rise in environmental concern and cost effective savings. And that’s not all. One of the major parts of the automotive industry which extends beyond the vehicles themselves is all the servicing behind the scenes, ensuring the ongoing safety of products once they are in the hands of consumers, and servicing those areas of the industry which are required to keep it moving.
The automotive industry was built on versatility and convenience, but it is kept relevant and moving forward by its prominence in the mainstream world – both through automotive entertainment shows, competitive motor racing and motor sports, and consistently impressive new releases and products.
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