Trend Report: 2018

Trader is taking a look at trends predicted for the coming years in the automotive industry. The trends emerging for 2018 indicate continued changes in the automotive industry. Industry experts have predicted that we will see more disruption in the next 10 years then it has seen in the last 50. It’s predicted that four key factors will be front and centre in the changes that happen over the next decade: autonomous, connectivity, electrification and ridesharing.

Trader has studied the predictions that have been made by industry experts and we have put together our list for the future of the auto industry in 2018 and beyond.


In 2018 more auto consumers are going to be looking for connectivity when shopping for vehicles. Mobile connectivity with ‘infotainment’ systems are already in high demand by consumers and Apple and Android have begun partnering with different OEMs. The next evolution is the connected car. These connected cars are not just connected to the Internet and your phone, vehicles are now connecting to each other on the road.

While autonomous cars may not be integrated into the consumer level until after 2020, Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) technology is already on the road in Canada. The Cadillac CTS in 2017 was the first vehicle to launch with V2V communications in Canada, using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) and GPS to provide early warnings of hard braking, slippery/icy conditions and a collision ahead. Technology like self-parking and Collision Avoidance Systems have become more common – and is said to jump 30 percent each year for the foreseeable future. It is predicted that one in five vehicles will be connected to the Internet by 2020.

Already OEMs like Ford are jumping headfirst into the future of auto technology. Ford has already put a major investment into its Smart Mobility program and GM is acquiring self-driving technology as fast as it can. Ford is going so far as to claim that it will have the largest fleet of self-driving vehicles of any manufacturer this year.


With the rise of companies like Car2Go and Lyft, the sharing economy has become a major part of the auto industry, especially amongst young consumers.

While talk of the growing ridesharing market continues to create concern that millennials won’t own cars, in Canada, financial and urban factors may tell a different story. Based on the adopters of this technology there is the consideration that ridesharing and companies like Uber are just replacing the original taxi market. Many users of the services are young and in urban environments, while many use them in conjunction with owning their own vehicle. When given the opportunity millennials are still choosing to purchase a vehicle once they find themselves in a different phase of life or financial situation.


While electric cars have taken off in popularity the UK, the same isn’t being said here in Canada. Even with Telsa getting ready to ship the Model 3, Canadians are not purchasing electric vehicles. Under 200,000 have been purchased in the last 16 years that they have been available in the Canadian market. S1

As Canadians continue to struggle with ‘range anxiety,’ a lack of infrastructure to support charging stations and frustrations about the length of the charging process–in the consumer market we may see OEMs move more towards more fuel efficiency and lighter weight traditional vehicles than focus on selling electric cars.

Trader’s Customer Predictions

At the beginning of the year we polled some of our dealer partners to find out what their predictions for the future of automotive will be. This is what they predicted for 2018 and beyond:

– In the not too distant future, people will be purchasing all vehicles online and the vehicle will be delivered to their door.
– While VR is a fun gimmick, nothing will replace the test drive as being the final decision maker for auto-consumers. You still want to touch and feel the car.
– Voice technology will be a major player in the showroom and as a technology consumers look for when purchasing their vehicle.
– The future is moving towards hybrid and electric vehicles – and with it – less upkeep and servicing.
– More dealerships will follow Tesla’s model and move to the mall.
– 2018 will be about attribution and how the data that is now being compiled can be used to buy cars.

What does this mean for OEMs & Dealers?

New consumer behaviours, attitudes and expectations are forcing both OEMs and dealers to rethink the buyer’s journey. For OEMs, new technology means new opportunity to get a step ahead of their competitors. Consumers still have a high degree of confidence and trust in their preferred car brands. The expectation is that the OEMs will catch up to the technology so consumers can still buy their preferred brand-name vehicle.

For dealers, new consumer buying touch points means new opportunities to create a relationship with long-term customers. Consumers will expect a strong digital presence – such as help to easily locate content and information and transparent details and pricing – measures which will have more impact than ever. Additionally, having an understanding of what technologies consumers will be looking to own will give dealers an opportunity to stand out from their competitors.

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Source 1: Dennis Desroisiers

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