DETROIT — The decline of two-car households may force automakers to make some big changes, but the dealership experience is on track to get even better for car shoppers, according to a new report by accounting and consulting firm KPMG.
"Mobility-on-demand companies like Uber and Zipcar now provide compelling alternatives to ownership, especially in urban areas," the report said. "With the potential shift in ownership demand, OEMs better update their economic model."
However, the report notes that two-car families are "still the norm in the U.S.," with 57 percent of U.S. households having two cars or more. But in places like New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia, most households have fewer than two cars. Just 14 percent of New York City's population lives in a two-car household, for example.
"There are some compelling reasons to believe that over the next decade, the number of American households without a car may grow," the report said.
However, Gary Silberg, national automotive industry leader for KPMG and author of the report, entitled "Me, My Car, My Life," said there is "ample reason for optimism" in the industry.
"The industry is crackling with innovation and entrepreneurship," he wrote. "It's attracting some of the best and most creative thinkers from major universities around the world as well as billions in research and development dollars from Silicon Valley, venture capital and from within the auto industry itself."
Silberg expects that the dealership experience will become "far more streamlined, more data driven — and far more pleasant and personalized."
"A dealer will already know your history and profile when you walk in the door," he wrote. "He will immediately connect you with the right products, configurations, and add-ons to meet your needs. After you buy a vehicle, your relationship with the dealer will continue, because the integrated systems in your vehicle will automatically schedule maintenance appointments and alert you to product updates and sales you care about."
The report points to a radical change in the way Americans view and use their vehicles.
"(The) car is no longer just a way to get from point A to point B," the report said. "In fact, it's not just a car: It's the control center for our mobile lives."
Edmunds says: Car shoppers are already seeing big changes in the dealership experience. And this report predicts even better things ahead.