How Driving Digital can help us navigate the current climate

Driving Digital is the National Franchised Dealer Association’s way of equipping dealers to deal with the marketplace as it changes.  The theme this year is very much about how we bounce back from the pandemic whilst facing the challenges of vehicle supply, electrification and inflation.

Never before has Driving Digital faced so many market and marketing challenges as the future of the automotive industry grows increasingly digital.

During the last two years we have faced with unprecedented times.  Dealing with a global pandemic we were forced to either stop working or work remotely from home. We discovered new words like furlough and concepts like the R (reinfection) rate – remember that?

Coming out of this, for the first time since World War 2 we have a war on European soil.  The human impact is unforgivable, but it will only add to the challenges facing the supply chain and global economy.

The war in Ukraine coupled with further issues, including inflationary pressure that we have not seen since the seventies, will have a detrimental impact on the industry.  Fuel prices and issues surrounding new car supply caused by the shortage of vital materials such as semiconductors and further supply constraints have only been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

All of which have affected the automotive industry.

When Sue and I sat down to work out who we wanted to speak at this year’s Driving Digital we looked at how to ask the right questions and provide the answers.

We needed to set the economic scene and how changes in the industry structure as well as challenges to the economy will help us to steer the course ahead for our industry.

We are delighted to welcome Owen Edwards to give his views on the economy and the changes, both structural and market driven.  How will the macro-economic environment impact automotive retailing?  When it comes to how consumers have changed their demand and are also likely to change in the future, Catherine Faiers from Auto Trader will provide us with a unique insight into what is happening in the UK’s largest car marketplace.

With these changes and the economic challenges, what’s a marketeer to do? Kim Costello, from Pendragon, will provide us with some of the answers we’re looking for, as she looks at how Evans Halshaw and Stratstone will deal with these issues in the months ahead.

Ian Plummer will provide us with an insight into how electrification of the UK’s motoring fleet is progressing and consequentially impacting used vehicles, before Eddie Hawthorne from Arnold Clark, will give us his take on how they responding to the challenges of today and tomorrow.  As one of Europe’s largest privately owned businesses, Arnold Clark is able to think long term in how the markets will develop and put in place business practices fit for the market to come.

Leaders and marketeers from the sector will come away from Driving Digital with both a set of questions for their prospective businesses to answer and a number of answers to those questions.

All of this is made possible by the support of NFDA members and by the sponsorship of Auto Trader.