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DETROIT, AUG. 20, 2013 — /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers are driving the changes in the car buying experience and automakers are adjusting their marketing strategies to influence the decision making process.  According to PwC's Autofacts Analyst Note for August, automakers are investing in new social media and digital campaigns to launch vehicles and engage the next generation of consumers. 

While automotive manufacturers may still need some convincing about the benefits of using readily available information from social media, engagement in these channels is driving change in the automotive industry. 

"As the use of social media continues to expand, automakers need to better understand how to connect with end consumers from purchase consideration to the length of vehicle ownership," said Erich Bergen, PwC's automotive customer impact consulting practice. "To succeed, automakers need to consider a holistic approach to selling to the next generation buyers. From training retail outlets to engaging through a loyalty program, each buyer has their own digital footprint and this creates an opportunity for automakers to engage."

Three underlying consumer trends that are creating opportunities for innovation and driving change in automotive retail include:

  • Millennials, defined as 18 to 30 year olds, make up 40 percent of the total available car buying population, contributing $200 billion to the US economy annually.
  • The acceleration of social media usage, with 70 percent of consumers using social media to learn about other customer experiences when making car buying decisions.
  • Proliferation of connected mobile devices, such as smart phones, provides integration and connectivity for OEMs to develop cross-platform apps to enhance the driving experience. Each factor is connected to the car buying experience, ultimately molding the strategies of OEMs' marketing programs.

Automotive companies can leverage available data through social media channels in varying stages of the "social engagement journey," by one-way communication, and also by utilizing the feedback from consumers to customize their marketing strategies. According to a recent PwC survey, consumers are more likely to recommend a product after following the brand on Twitter. Specifically, 69 percent of consumers share their negative experience with others through social media, and 40 percent of consumers value the option to shop across multiple channels, such as web, mobile and in-store.

Automotive selling has transitioned from one-way sales to a two-way digital platform. Buyer expectations continue to drive toward flexibility and accessible purchasing options. OEMs should embrace the benefits of a strong social media presence and utilize the on-going dialogue of their brand and products to better understand consumer sentiment to adjust their marketing strategies and help drive revenue growth.

For more details about PwC's social media experience and the digital consumer, download the August issue of PwC's Analyst Note at: or download the Autofacts App for your iPhone or iPad via iTunes.

About PwC's Automotive Practice PwC's global automotive practice leverages its extensive experience in the industry to help companies solve complex business challenges with efficiency and quality.  One of PwC's global automotive practice's key competitive advantages is Autofacts®, a team of automotive industry specialists dedicated to on-going analysis of sector trends.  Autofacts provides our team of more than 4,800 automotive professionals and our clients with data and analysis to assess implications make recommendations, and support decisions to compete in the global marketplace.

About Autofacts® Autofacts is a key strategic asset of PwC's global automotive practice. Autofacts provides on-going auto industry analysis our clients use to shape business strategy, assess implications and support a variety of operational decisions. The Autofacts team also draws from the strengths of PwC's marketing, sales and financial services groups to support other key areas of automotive companies' functions. Since 1985, our market-tested approach, diverse service offerings and dedication to client service have made Autofacts a trusted advisor throughout the industry. For more information, visit

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This content is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional advisors.

By PwC

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