Cars.com is looking at the future of car buying amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - which its analysts say forever changed car buying and selling. It sees five top trends advancing the auto space in 2021 and says changes will persist this year as Americans continue to spend more time at home and online, place a premium on the freedom car ownership provides, and keep affordability and electric vehicles top of mind.
"In the new virtual-first environment, digital platforms have significantly increased in importance for small businesses across the country, dealerships included, as the need persists to virtually connect with at-home shoppers," said Alex Vetter, Cars.com Inc. CEO. "The new year will bring fast and persistent adaptation in our industry as consumers continue to rely on cars as an extension of their homes and look for frictionless digital experiences from their local dealerships. America's car dealers are well positioned to meet these expectations head-on as technology takes center stage, and we welcome this new era of digital car buying and selling."
Cars.com predicts the following trends will have the most long-term impact on car shopping in 2021:
"Despite the positive momentum expected in the EV category this year, hybrids and EV searches made up less than 1% of total site searches on Cars.com in 2020, signaling a long road ahead until mainstream adoption," added Vetter.
Low interest in electric vehicles is not deterring automakers, however. GM and Kia both revealed new branding this month aimed at highlighting their commitment to electrified lineups and mobility solutions.
January 20, 2021