Innovation, new technologies and a focus on brand building will take a front seat for automotive marketers in 2024, as the industry embraces a dynamic time.
The global automotive market will grow 2-3% in 2024, with more balance between production and sales than in previous years, indicating more equilibrium between supply and demand, according to ING.
“Electric vehicles, which cooled in 2023, will continue to increase in adoption in 2024,” says Angela Zepeda, chief marketing officer at Hyundai. “Autonomous vehicles, while still in their infancy, will begin to exponentially increase over the next couple of years. Cars will continue to become more connected, communicating with other software systems and collecting data from its surroundings. More vehicle purchases will shift to online – beyond just shopping – to full end-to-end transactions.”
Charlotte Blank, chief marketing officer at Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) also expects to see a more seamless digital car shopping experience. “In 2024, we will continue to see automakers and retailers joining digital marketing systems to create more seamless, omnichannel experiences for the customer shopping and purchase experience,” she says.
Allyson Witherspoon, global chief marketing officer of Nissan Motors says “the automotive landscape is incredibly dynamic right now with many new brands and models being introduced globally.”
“This will have a fundamental impact on the industry. In 2024, Nissan will begin our next phase of product transformation and continue to focus on building brand equity and relevant, personalized customer experiences to excite people,” she adds. “AI will continue to develop in how it’s applied and used to supercharge our marketing and I’m excited to see how we can continue to push the boundaries of immersive digital experiences.”
For Nissan, 2023 has been about growth of emotional connections between consumers and the company’s products and technologies. One example is the brand’s Heisman House partnership.
“College football is intensely personal, and emotions run deep,” says Marisstella Marinkovic, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Nissan US. “The Nissan Heisman House is college football culture and we are constantly looking for ways to bring fans closer to their favorite players and teams. Leveraging more partnerships like this is something we will continue to explore in the coming year. I am deeply passionate about engaging with consumers through cultural connections. Incorporating cultural elements into our marketing is something we plan to continue building on in the coming year.”
Additionally, Marinkovic noted the growing importance of collecting with the next generation of drivers. “I regularly leverage my children and their friends as a miniature focus group to stay current on what their generation finds important, especially in the world of automotive and technology,” she adds.
Many younger consumers are looking to lower their carbon footprints driving the shift in demand for more sustainable car options. By 2025, 25% of cars sold will have electric engines –most being hybrids– according to Goldman Sachs. Expect more EVs on the road in 2024, along with more infrastructure to support these models.
“The shift to zero-emission mobility is a marathon not a sprint, and we are excited to see the automotive industry evolve as the move toward electrification continues,” says Melody Lee, chief marketing officer at Mercedes-Benz USA. “Dedicated charging networks will play a pivotal role in accelerating the widespread adoption of electric vehicles as we embrace a new era of mobility. We can also expect to see a growing emphasis on sustainability, both in terms of vehicle manufacturing processes and the use of eco-friendly materials to align with a growing number of environmentally conscious consumers.”
As brands look to connect with consumers in the new year, it will be important to tell stories that they can connect with.
“Messaging that tells your brand story and finds a way to separate your company from the crowd has always been the essence of the magic of our business, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2024. The challenge to cut through the clutter is as strong as ever,” says Kimberly Ito, vice president of marketing at Mitsubishi Motors North America.
“I predict 2024 will see a mix of the scatter approach where some brands will try to reach every possible consumer, and the laser approach where brands will work harder to speak only to the customers who they think will purchase their product,” she continues. “For a smaller brand like Mitsubishi Motors, the challenge is to squeeze two dollars return from every dollar spent, and we’re doing it through a combination of broadcast, connected TV and digital video, as well as working hand-in-glove with our dealer partners to amplify our one-voice campaigns, including our first-ever brand-level spokesperson partnership with Rashida Jones.”