A year of change for Germany but the future remains online says Lars-Alexander Lilje, Senior Key Account Manager, Autorola Germany
It has been an interesting period for the German car market. It has been a time of upheaval, which has brought challenges but also opportunities in equal measure. With new passenger vehicle registrations in Germany having expanded by 14.9% during the first half of 2021 to 1,390,889 cars, compared to only 1,210,622 cars sold during the first half of 2020, it seems as though the underlying confidence is slowly returning.
However, much like the rest of the world, Germany is currently suffering from the effects of the micro-conductor shortage, which is playing out on a global scale. In the German market, it has meant that used car prices are at a record high, but with a downside that no new cars are expected to arrive in any large volumes until mid-2022 at the earliest- although this is a mere prediction at this point, no production schedules can be confirmed- this high demand is not expected to fall anytime soon.
Increasing focus on a niche market
Autorola Germany took the decision 18 months ago to establish a clear and well-defined practice for developing business leads. These results of this research led us to focus on developing a client base of companies with a parc of 500 vehicles or more. Autorola then began an internal project to investigate how many of these there were in Germany, researching them in depth to discover their pain-points in the de-fleet process and then introduce them to the Autorola online remarketing platform in relation to these.
The project revealed a potential list of 150 companies with fleets large enough to be of interest to us, and this relatively small target list meant Autorola was able to fully understand every business proposition before every approach was made.
We spent a long time developing a comprehensive business case and a compelling narrative with which to attract these companies. We demonstrated in each case exactly how Autorola could solve their specific problems, and how easy the resolution could be for them as a result.
The catchphrase coined for the project was “building a profit centre from a cost centre” and the time we spent at the research stage paid off. In a highly mature and competitive marketplace such as Germany, Autorola’s depth of knowledge of the companies we approached meant Autorola stood out from competitors from the outset, as it was able to meet large corporations on an equal footing, as the de-facto experts in our field.
Reaping the rewards in an increasingly digital world
With the current scarcity of available stock within the country, the decision has really paid off. By focusing so intently on larger fleets of 500 vehicles or more, it results in these companies’ de-fleeting an average of around 100 vehicles a year each. Even with the current propensity of fleets to hold onto their vehicles for longer than usual, the relative availability of de-fleet vehicles for Autorola Germany has proved to be of enormous help in the current circumstances.
It has been also of great benefit to Autorola that the Marketplace product is purely digital, as it has put the business ahead of the curve in a changing business landscape, the acceleration of which has been driven by COVID.
“Our online, customer-focused approach is proving to be just what the new disruptors to the marketplace are looking for, which allows us to attract the newcomers, while still working with the more traditional dealerships who are evolving too,” said Lars-Alexander.
Unique messaging of a USP
“As a result of this USP, and the time we have taken to refine our messaging around it, the last 12 months has been one of success for Autorola Germany. We have been able to successfully convert leads into sales, helped entirely by the fact that not only is our online platform the best in class, but also, when combined with our sales team, INDICATA and SOLUTIONS, the strength of our proposition is hard to deny,” said Lars.
The traditional de-fleeting process could take many hours per vehicle, and involve multiple parties, however with Autorola, it involves just one point of contact and can take as little as four minutes per vehicle. Put simply, we help reduce liability, risk, and costs, while raising profits. For companies managing fleets of hundreds of vehicles, this a compelling message for any fleet manager to hear.
“Through this unique formula of our huge international network, targeted selling means we reach the right process with the right dealers while reducing client processes, we are confident in the continued growth of Autorola in Europe’s largest car market,” he added.