Holden unveils plan for marketing in age of the shared driverless electric car

Connectivity, ridesharing, electric vehicles and driverless cars are changing the marketing landscape for automotive marketers, General Motors Holden executive director for marketing Mark Harland said yesterday.

Harland was speaking at Mumbrella’s Automotive Marketing Summit, where he outlined the challenges facing the 150-year-old company as new technologies change the industry.

Mark Harland, marketing director of GM Holden

“We’re at this tipping point in automotive and I think it’s going to be a really exciting ride,” Harland said. “There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ today.”

“It’s no longer about building factories all over the world and making as many cars as possible. At one point that’s what all manufacturers were doing.

“General Motors is in the fortunate position that we’ve really decided where we’re going to make our bets. What are the countries, what are the technologies and where in the ‘mobility business’ are we going to make our bets?” Harland asked.

Those bets are being made in the areas of electric and driverless vehicles along with connectivity and ridesharing, he said.

“Connectivity and ridesharing are going to address the challenges facing cities around the world as congestion increases. The vehicle is always going to be one step ahead of us,” Harland said about automotive technology. “And that’s a good thing.”

Harland flagged GM’s OnStar communication system will be soon launched in Australia, a market which he believes has lagged in adopting some of the recent global industry technology development: “This brings a whole new level of safety.”

Ridesharing and car sharing offers auto brands an opportunity to market their products as customers get to trial products, he said when citing the company’s investment in Melbourne based sharing service, Maven. “What are dealers trying to do? Test drives.”

Harland also believes marketing opportunities will arise from demographic changes as city dwelling millennials move into the suburbs and purchase cars as they start families.

Harland sees electric and autonomous vehicles  as being the markets of the future. “We’re not there in Australia yet,” he observes. “This is not twenty or ten years away, the technology is here.”

“At the end of the day, the consumer has the power,” he concluded. “General Motors talks about putting the customer at the centre of everything we do. We’re at that tipping point and we have to embrace change in the marketplace.”


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