The 8th Motor Finance Europe: Conference & Awards is to be held at InterContinental Wien Hotel in Vienna, Austria, on 19-20 October 2023.
What’s on the agenda? That’s something we’re working on, but one thing is for sure: we’ll be taking stock of where we’ve come and where we’re going.
Some aspects are inescapable though, such as a) the post-COVID outlook for the supply and demand for vehicles and what this means for financiers; b) software and IT product developments that enhance digital engagement; c) the ‘agency model’ and how it may change the relationship between the manufacturer and the dealer; and d) how EVs are challenging how consumers see brand loyalty.
2022, 2023 and beyond
Last year saw big changes to the dynamics shaping the automotive sector across Europe. The war in Ukraine has triggered a global financial and energy crisis, at the same time inflation is on the rise across most developing economies accompanied by tightening monetary policies against a backdrop of a cost-of-living crisis for ordinary working people.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the automotive sector has managed significant production halts made worse by semiconductor shortages affecting millions of vehicles, these chip shortages continue today.
Some observers have described 2022 as the worst year in more than a decade for the auto industry, largely because manufacturers struggled to keep up with consumer demand, but oddly that’s not been bad for the sector as profitability has been sky-high for a number of key players.
The reason the industry was able to reap profits as sales plummeted was that pent-up consumer demand, built up during COVID, remained strong as supply shifted, allowing automakers to increase their prices and their profit margins. This meant the average price paid for cars and trucks soared to near-record levels.
These supply and demand dynamics will continue to have a huge impact on how vehicles are financed in 2023 and beyond.
Digital highway, ‘agency model’ and EVs
Other factors are also at play of course. Technology, for a start, is shaping every aspect of how vehicles are produced, marketed, sold and financed, with much of that technology being Cloud-enabled and increasingly enhanced by Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Here, questions of how digital engagement is transforming the ownership of end consumers and their data come to the fore: will manufacturers necessarily own the end customer?
Technology is also at the heart of addressing how the digital journey can take account of vulnerable customers, and how the digital experience more generally can improve the information presented to all consumers.
Another sector dynamic involves a pull in the industry towards the ‘agency model’ which may fundamentally change how people acquire a vehicle and with it a change in the relationship between the manufacturer and the dealer.
Also, the appearance of more and more EVs on our roads is throwing up interesting questions about brand choice, brand personality and brand loyalty in the market. alongside questions about what factors influence the cost of EVs compared to ICE vehicles.
We’d love to see you in Vienna to discuss these topics and we encourage your input in shaping the agenda and line-up of speakers.