Pornladda Dathratwibul, iCarAsia’s country manager for Thailand, said the company has set a goal to be first in quality, “the largest and most trusted online automotive marketplace” by strengthening existing services and products, as well as launch new products and activity including a new care product and chatbot. And it will host regional online to offline (O2O) events.
The company has forseen and prepared for several trends that will hit the digital automotive ecosystem in 2018 and play a bigger role in the customer’s buying journey and in video content. They include augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and AI. IcarAsia.com will in the automotive eco system in digital world included augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and AI.
“Our role is to provide the online research for people who want to buy a car, from providing content [autospinn.com] to the purchase decision [one2car.com], to cover the ecosystem and bring it together in one place. We have partnerships with dealers – both new and used cars – to strengthen that ecosystem, reduce field sales and further utilise online channels,” said Pornladda.
There is still high competition with newcomers domestically and internationally, he said. Consumers are already jumping to online, they are there, and so all players will go there, too.
“The challenge in 2018 is that the behaviour of upcountry consumers and dealers will still be a challenge, with car buying and selling still relying on relationship and referral. They have started to adopt online shopping, but still far less compared to greater Bangkok. Car brands [OEMs] and advertising spending is still quite huge in traditional media. They are already spending online, but the ration is still high in traditional media. World-class players in social media and e-commerce will invest to grab automotive marketplace sharing.”
Because the new-car marketplace is still very new for Thailand, “we have to work really hard to kick- start this in the consumers’ mind,” said Pornladda. “We’re helping to develop this new channel, platform and service. And what happens is that consumer and dealer behaviour shifts and they adapt to it. All our services are based on helping consumers and dealers have an easier and more convenient way to buy and sell cars.”
“Our dealers are using our in-depth product more than ever this year,” he said. “This shows that online is a key channel for them to sell cars.”
According to a consumer search on the platform, people’s top vehicle preferences – for buying and selling – are SUVs, economy to mid-range sedans, and European cars.
Edited by G. Davila