Auto focus

Ready for the 80s Gen

Lei Lin | Updated on June 12, 2014 Published on June 12, 2014

Are Indian auto makers listening?

China’s auto manufacturers have done very well selling cars. They now need to learn how to sell after-sales service.

Around half of all car owners in the country were born between 1980 and 1989 and this generation has driven growth. The future success of auto brands will depend on understanding the needs of car owners.If brands want to build loyalty and drive repeat purchases amongst this generation, they need to deliver specific after-sales experiences. They won’t do it by trusting to the stereotype of younger consumers as rebellious, self-centred and cynical.

The 80s generation is approaching its prime: married, becoming parents, with an average income three to four times the national average and an expectation of being in charge. At work, they are breaking into the ranks of management or running their own businesses. As they desperately try to preserve work-life balance, they have come to depend on the car to help them get closer to being in several places at once.

Their income makes them less price-sensitive but the pressure on time means that they demand a car-owning experience to meet individual needs. Waiting whilst a vehicle is serviced is simply not an option for them. Time spent at a dealership undermines either their working schedules or time with family and friends.

So, a servicing set-up that allows them to multitask is essential.This generation has grown up with technology and expect auto brands to use that for their needs. The drivers of the 80s generation expect intelligent vehicle systems to take the initiative when it comes to their own servicing, prompting them when it’s time for a tune-up. And real-time updates on the progress of services are another way brands can leverage technology to help save customers’ time.

Status remains important to all Chinese car owners but for the 80s generation it’s important that their vehicle wins respect for them on their individual terms. This generation demands a more tailored approach that respects their busy lives: pick-up services, off-site options and the offer for dealers to take care of tasks such as taxing and insuring vehicles.

(The writer is President and CEO, Sinotrust, a TNS company)

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Published on June 12, 2014
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