Car buyers are increasingly demanding personalised vehicles that reflect their self-image and lifestyle. A trend that is creating great opportunities for innovative suppliers across the world – but how do you cut through all the noise to get noticed by the manufacturers?
Personalisation is increasingly the key trigger that helps drivers decide what car to buy.
They’re not just looking for accessories like tow-bars, individual paint jobs, go-faster wings and spoilers. They also want to choose from a wide range of smart solutions that are at the heart of the driving experience – from communications to economy, power output to safety.
And that’s great news for suppliers – it’s forcing manufacturers to work with a fast-growing universe of specialist (and often small) businesses. Experts who can help to turn a production-line model into exactly what individual buyers are looking for.
Investing in innovation
That’s why some of the biggest companies in the world – from Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) and Toyota to General Motors, Ford, BMW and Daimler – are investing in start-up and early-stage companies to give them the edge.
And don’t think you can’t be part of this just because your business isn’t about in-car technology. The race to find small businesses that can help manufacturers deliver that vital next iota of competitive advantage is unceasing. The automotive supply chain is long and complex, and it was recently estimated to have a global turnover of around €2 trillion. Now that complexity is increasing exponentially.
Take Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital and mobility services arm, “InMotion”, for example. It includes rideshare companies, a mobility data marketplace, a pay-per-mile insurance business and even a company that enables restaurants to pay for its customers’ transportation.
Of course, you don’t need to be part of one of these ‘investment communities’ to be a supplier to the automotive industry. If you’ve got an innovative product or a great idea, they’re keen to hear from you.
Manufacturers need you
That’s because they need your specialist expertise, insight and understanding at least as much as you need their buying power, influence on the market and route to the end consumer.
In fact, they recognise that innovation is vital to their future. They need to turn back the continuous, 30-year decrease in the numbers of young people in the US who hold a driving licence (as shown in a report from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute). That means they have to constantly find new ways of making people want to buy and drive a car.
So don’t be shy about putting yourself forward.
But the question often is, how? How do you make yourself known to such massive organisations? How do you reach somebody who’s far enough up the management tree to have an influence?
As hundreds of suppliers are already finding, its benefits are very clear – not least, it means you can show procurement professionals at many of the world’s leading manufacturers exactly what they would gain from working with you.
And, because your presence means you’ve already passed Achilles’ thorough quality and compliance validation, this goes a long way to boost your credibility.