Winning in Automotive: A Quarter Mile at a Time

Your key to driving growth in a fiercely competitive market

Luxury Car manufacturers see Tesla as a threat to their existence and they have good reason to feel so. We looked at car buyers who were seen at Mercedes, BMW and Tesla Dealerships in California.

  • An astonishing 22% of car buyers visit dealerships of all 3 brands, while a whopping 25% visit only Tesla.
  • Only 3% visit Tesla and either of the other brands.

And while it’s natural to shop around before making a decision, we measured the seriousness of shoppers by measuring their level of engagement via the time spent at a dealership.

  • At an aggregate level, car buyers are spending the same amount of time at each of the brands — implying that battery driven Tesla cars are serious contenders, despite their delays in delivery (due to various reasons).

We’ve build a preference chart for the three brands at a Zip Code level by mapping visitation trends in these zip codes to the brand dealerships.

Here is a look at the brand preferences at a Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) level in California, and a close up on the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Brand Preference in California at ZCTA level — Source: Near
Brand Preferences — Bay Area (Left) , Los Angeles (Right) — Source: Near

Comparing the characteristics of the audience in these areas gives us an idea of the type of audience each brand is resonating with.

We looked at the following to map the brand preferences with the audiences in each zip code:

  • Population Density
  • Median Income
  • Median of % of Households that have Income >$200K

The chart below highlights the same, with the bubble size indicating population density.

Characteristics of each audience at an Aggregate level in California— Source: US CensusNear
It’s very clear that Tesla is now the go-to brand for the Urban audience with a higher level of income.

For businesses to be able to use this data, it’s important to overlay this information with the existing dealerships. For the sake of simplicity, we took BMW’s dealerships and decided to look at the brand preference in those areas.

Check out the video below -

The complete picture is visible when manufacturers look at dealership locations of competition in conjunction. This will help them decide the actions that need to be taken.

Further areas of opportunity present themselves when we overlay BMW’s current dealerships and the areas where the characteristics of the audience match those that currently prefer the BMW brand.

Regions where audience characteristics are similar or better than those of BMW’s current audience — Source: US Census
These regions are now the opportunity areas for BMW to exploit, and there are various on-ground and online activities that can be taken up by the brand to strengthen its position.

Strategy and business decisions based on looking at consumer activity and preferences in the real world will help auto players spend their money where their consumers spend their time.


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