Summit provides glimpse into the automobile market of 2020

auto industryWhat will it be like to buy or sell a car in the year 2020?

A lot different than it is today, according to the closing presentation on the future of the auto industry in 2020 at the recent Auto Finance Summit in Las Vegas, NV.

Besides the technology in vehicles themselves – including self-driving capability – it will enable consumers to have more control over the shopping and buying experience, and the ability to do just about everything from a mobile device or laptop in the comfort of their living rooms.

This look into the future is particularly relevant now, as many dealers budget for 2015 and beyond.

The customer in 2020 will arrive at the dealership (if at all) with a pre-arranged line of credit or financial commitment. That shopper will have done much research online, on an internet-enabled device, and is likely to have decided which brand, model and other features are desirable. The shopper even may have taken the vehicle of choice on a virtual test drive before trying out the genuine article.

The way a customer connects with a dealer also will be quite different.

Some market observers think the consumer of 2020 in most cases will first connect with a dealer online, through text chat or videoconferencing, and confirm transaction details before going to a dealership.

The consumer will provide the dealer with a secure financial transaction code, which will provide access to payment and available credit information, according to the 2020 presenters. And confirmation of loans or leases also will be provided electronically to all parties involved.

Contracts of all kinds will be universal and available to sign electronically at any time. The dealer and manufacturer welcome letters, including relevant attachments, will be sent to the buyer electronically. It also will be normal for car buyers to purchase vehicles from sellers located out of state, even thousands of miles away, and receive prompt delivery after they make their purchase.

Lease penetration, which recently has reached 25 percent, will be more than 50 percent in 2020, one lender suggested. This will mean a continuous flow of used vehicles, keeping used prices stable.

The overall message of the presentation was that technology can not only disrupt the auto industry, but that it also can help those selling vehicles to do so more efficiently and cost-effectively.

Oh, and one more prediction, Jetsons fans: There still will be no flying cars.

– Philip Ryan

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