Did you know that mobile web browsing overtook desktop browsing for the first time in 2016?
We wanted to see if this were true in automotive as well, so we pored through the data for our partner dealers. The result: 54% of website views were mobile.
What does that mean for you, an automotive dealer, trying to thrive in 2017?
It means that even if your SEM ads are optimized for mobile, your lead capturing is not.
The Old Way
Imagine an interested buyer on your site, trying to find the perfect vehicle. They have two options once they've narrowed it down (1):
With option 2, the form is actually pretty good. It's implemented as well as possible given the technological limitations. But here is the best-case scenario for users that made it this far:
Even in this best-case scenario, you're providing an interested buyer a disjointed, frustrating experience and losing 99% of them along the way.
The New Way
Now, there's a better way. In June, we launched uQuote Instant Capture with 20% of our dealerships and the results have been astonishing.
If the prospect on your website uses Facebook -- which ~200 million Americans do -- all they need to do is press "Instant Quote" and they're getting an instant price quote with estimated payments within seconds through Facebook Messenger.
And 375% better conversion than a mobile form.
And with more and more web traffic on mobile devices, this means tens of thousands of dollars more each month to your top line. Is this something that interests you? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Roy Mathew
CEO @ uQuote
We had our very first VC pitch in 2015. I shared our vision of how we were going to work with dealers to transform the new car market with uQuote. The VC's response:
"Dealers? Why don't you cut them out? Have you heard of Tesla?"
Let me look them up.
Half of our investment suitors at the time pushed back on our idea, recycling the broad, sweeping changes looming over the auto industry:
According to your typical Menlo Park investor, the auto industry was being flipped on its head and the change was already here.
We took the punches in stride, regrouped, and spent the next year talking to dealers and car buyers across the country.
Here's what we learned:
Silicon Valley Auto Industry ≠ American Auto Industry
For your average SF-dweller, the hype around Uber and Tesla is distorting the reality--what it's like to buy and drive cars in the rest of the United States.
While the effects of elecric vehicles, ride-sharing, and self-driving cars will be massive, the forces are nascent and the repercussions uncertain.
In the meantime, buying a new car still sucks. And over here at uQuote, we are trying to make that experience better.
So I wanted to share with you everything we've learned about what's going on in the auto industry that's motivating us to work so hard.
(1) Dealers Aren't Going Anywhere
Dealers are an American institution. And dealers want to keep it that way. Even Elon Musk, the most prolific entrepreneur of the current era, is struggling to fight them with Tesla's 'Direct-to-Consumer' model.
Of the 22 states where Tesla has showrooms:
And despite the media attention, these 'Direct-to-Consumer' sales account for <1% of total new car sales.
Takeaway: The dealer lobby is strong and widespread.
(2) New Car Sales as Strong as Ever
While 2016 new car sales are projected to be a little worse than 2015, the industry is still on track for one of the best years in U.S. history (17.3M).
And not to mention, trucks are still America's vehicle. The Ford F-150 is still the reigning best-seller in the United States--with Chevy Silverado as a close second.
Ford F-150: #1 selling vehicle in the U.S.
Takeaway: Most people don't take a self-driving Prius Uber to work.
(3) Technology is Lacking for New Car Purchases
Fortunately for used car buyers, there has been some innovation in the purchasing process in the used car market in the past few years.
There are four private companies trying to disrupt the market with at least $50M in funding:
Unfortunately for NEW car buyers--and there are a lot of them (~17.3M this year)--the only technological developments have been concierge services for premium buyers and websites with a modern UI.
Why? Because new cars have to be sold through dealers. And if dealers feel threatened by your idea, you don't stand a chance.
Takeaway: Disrupting the new car market? Keep dealers happy.
(4) For Buying Cars: Bots >> Apps >> Websites
Apps win out easily over phones given the shift to mobile computing. But why bots? Because people buy cars at most every three years. And it doesn't make sense to have an app permanently on your phone that you won't get value out of every day.
And bots are getting better by the minute.
Takeaway: Expensive, infrequent purchases will move to chat.
(5) Direct Offers = Better Prices
Fun fact about automotive advertising:
If more than one person can see the price of an advertised vehicle, that price becomes the maximum price a dealer can sell that car to anyone.
It doesn't matter if you didn't see the advertisement. If the dealer sells the car to you for a higher price, they are breaking the law.
This means that none of the prices you see on a newspaper, TV, TrueCar, AutoTrader, etc. will ever be competitive.
The only way a dealer can offer an aggressive price to an interested buyer without shooting themselves in the foot, is if they send it directly to...
...and the buyer requests a price. We've built 2 and 3:
Earlier this month, we launched uQuote for Facebook. The idea is simple:
All you have to do is send a message and tap 'Get Started'. Easy!
So what does this mean for you, the prospective car buyer? Every part of the process is easier. For example:
Before: A 1990s era website...
With uQuote: Easy to navigate. Pleasing on the eye.
Getting a Quote
Step 1: 'Build' a vehicle on a 3rd party site
Step 2: Get a price on a similar vehicle
Step 3: Go to dealership
Step 4: Get told that that car isn't available or why the price is wrong
Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4 until you finally get a quote on a car you see with your own two eyes
Step 100: Sign the paperwork
Step 1: Browse inventory
Step 2: Select vehicle
Step 3: Get quote (~5 seconds)
Step 4: Accept quote (reserves vehicle until quote expires)
Before: Give up your name, email, phone, and zip code before you even begin.
With uQuote: Stay anonymous until you accept the quote.
Ready to get started? Start a chat with uQuote or with our very first partner dealers:
- San Leandro Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM (San Leandro, CA)
- Ford Of West Covina (West Covina, CA)
By Roy Mathew
CEO @ uQuote
Is there a dealership you want to see on our platform? Let us know here.
This week, we officially launched uQuote...
...for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles in the Bay Area and Sacramento!
Our mission is to make car buying simple and painless. Purchasing a car is the most important decision many people will make in their lives. And yet, it's still a miserable experience.
Buying cars today
You're a savvy shopper. You've picked the model and selected the features you care about -- 20" wheels, power sunroof, GPS, etc. You even got an online quote on the vehicle you "built." You show up to the dealership ready to negotiate.
But then the salesperson informs you that you priced a vehicle that doesn't exist at their dealership. In fact, a vehicle with those exact specs doesn't exist anywhere within 200 miles.
But the sales person has a few similar models in stock. But not for $2000 off MSRP.
No, sadly $400 off is the best they can do. And you need this car today so you buy it. Goodbye $1600. Welcome to 2016...
What if it didn't have to be this way.
Buying cars with uQuote
Let's rewind a little bit.
But the sales person has a few similar models in stock. You open uQuote on your phone and scan the window sticker of the visible cars.
This one has the 20" wheels and the power sunroof. You don't really need the built-in GPS in this day and age.
$400 off is the best they can do. And you need this car today. Wait. Really? Let's see what other dealerships can do.
Whoa, a dealer 17 miles away just sent you a quote that's $2500 off MSRP. You head over to San Leandro, sign the paperwork, and drive off that afternoon. Welcome to 2016!
What's the catch?
No catch. uQuote is free. Always. And before you get a quote, anonymously scan as many vehicles as you want.
We're starting off with Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep & Ram vehicles in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento.
But even if you're in the market for something else, use uQuote to store any new vehicle in your phone with one tap, rather than scribbling notes frantically on a napkin. Easy!
Download uQuote for iPhone
By Roy Mathew
CEO @ uQuote
Have a good buying story for us? Submit your own post here.
You've decided to go German. Wunderbar!
But you've also decided it just didn't make sense to pay the premium for a brand new vehicle. So now you have to ask:
Which entry-level used car makes the most financial sense? The Mercedes-Benz C300? The BMW 3-Series? The Audi A4?
We pored over 400+ vehicles in Kelley Blue Book in the San Francisco Bay Area to help you answer this question. We analyzed the vehicles on the following dimensions: 1) Year, 2) Asking Price, 3) Asking Price (as a % of original MSRP) and 4) Mileage.
Value depreciation by mile
Asking price (as a % of original MSRP) is on the y-axis. Mileage is on the x-axis. Each vehicle is color-coded by make/model. Each dot represents one vehicle. With these many data points, you can see the trends appear.
Value depreciation by year
Asking price is on the y-axis. Year is on the x-axis. Each dot represents one vehicle. The bar shows the average asking price for a given year. The average asking prices roughly decay with each year. Any fluctuations in this trend can be safely assumed to be the result of minimal data.
Everyone looks for different things when they're buying a car. Some people want the safest car out there. Some people are Honda "lifers." And some people love K-Pop so much that they will buy whatever as long as it's Korean-made.
Thankfully the J.D. Power 2016 Vehicle Dependability Study has all the right information for you, whichever type of buyer you are.
We took this information and sliced and diced it in every which way so you can make an informed decision. J.D. Power reported the number of Problems per 100 Vehicles (PP100) -- the lower the better. For the 5th year in a row, Lexus took the top spot.
For more information, download our research report here.
By Roy Mathew
Should you buy or should you lease? There isn't a clearcut answer for everyone but this cheatsheet will tell you what's right for you:
Advantages of buying:
Advantages of leasing:
By Roy Mathew
What's hot right now? According to U.S. News, these are your best options to get a deal for the month of April:
By Roy Mathew
So I'm sure you've heard that you should always wait until the end of the month to get the best deal on a car. You haven't? Well guess what, it's true.
So what's the story here? Dealer Cash. Most dealerships have extra incentives if they hit certain quotas. If they hit their target, it could mean an extra $500-1,000 per vehicle sold that month. If they don't hit their target, $0. So if you come in the at the end of the month and the dealer is on the cusp of this target, you might be in the running for a deal a few thousand dollars off invoice.
It's not going to work every time, but if you can wait a few days or weeks until the end of month, it might just be worth your while.
By Roy Mathew