The automobile industry is vast, with numerous manufacturers and thousands of models, and can be extremely competitive. Potential customers can be faced with tens or even hundreds of different models to choose from.
To best understand what your target audience is looking for, you’ll need to understand them. One of the top ways to gather information from your audience is through market research like car clinics.
Car clinics are a valuable tool for the automotive industry to gather insight from their audience and understand their preferences and opinions about prototypes, current cars, or competitors. Using this tool allows manufacturers to gather an accurate automotive market analysis and therefore make better products, market more strategically, and better predict potential revenue.
What is a car clinic?
The car clinic research method is a head-to-head comparison of vehicle brands or models, where the vehicles are lined up in a showroom and participants provide live feedback.
This showroom usually has audio and video recording devices and a one-way viewing room to observe participants who are recruited to view the vehicles and provide their thoughts on what they like, don’t like, prefer, and other opinions they may have.
Generally, a moderator facilitates the discussion like a focus group, asking questions to get participants to provide their opinions. The other option is a self-administered process, where participants are given a clipboard or tablet and asked to evaluate the vehicles.
There are commonly four types of car clinics, each with its own focus and benefits:
- Static Clinic – this is the most holistic option and includes detailed evaluations of packages, features, interior and exterior style, product positioning, and pricing. These can also look at advertising and communication strategies.
- Product Clinic – these clinics measure usability and evaluation of the vehicle’s appearance and interior for further modifications.
- Pricing Clinic – this research is aimed at the price positioning of a vehicle model, whether it is new or already present on the market.
- Virtual Clinic – these are scaled-down versions of the static clinic, where the clinic is conducted with high-quality images and video of the vehicles. This allows the customer to resolve pricing issues and market positioning.
Who participates in car clinics?
Participants in a car clinic depend wholly on the target audience that you are looking for. Participants depend on the team that you work with and the type of people they can reach. If you’re looking for information from niche, hard-to-reach groups like rural consumers or new immigrants, it’s important to work with a market research team who has the knowledge, expertise, and database to provide you with accurate results.
Working with a reputable market research company like Decision Point ensures that you can reach these groups. We also make sure participants are screened to meet your marketing segments.
Why use a car clinic for market research?
Car clinics are ideal to gather live user feedback to gauge competitive benchmarking and market readiness. They are most often used to learn how to improve a prototype or new model or learn where there are current gaps and opportunities in your target market that you can fill.
Car clinics can be used for product planning and optimization and can help determine the ideal price or forecast sales volumes of a particular vehicle.
Car clinics allow you to gather insight and comparisons in a more controlled environment. You can also gather insight that you may not initially receive. For example, if you are a company that usually makes SUVs but is working on an electric model (EV), you can arrange a car clinic that can compare this vehicle to other SUVs or EVs.
You have the choice of what you want to be compared to, and what factors you’d like to gather about from participants.
Why work with Decision Point for automotive industry market research?
Decision Point’s automobile market research provides accurate and reliable data insights to car manufacturers and research agencies using both quantitative and qualitative methods.
We offer comprehensive market research for the auto industry in several different forms, including focus groups and online surveys. We’ve created user experience studies for specific brands and models and completed experience surveys of brands and competitors for user insight.
Our unparalleled skills and resources to target the exact demographics you’re looking for make us a valuable choice – our database also has its members profiled by the make and model of the vehicle they primarily own. This helps with targeting efforts when conducting research studies for the automotive industry.
For further information about how we’ve helped our clients successfully manage challenging automotive market research read this case study, where we successfully gathered information for a project that all US suppliers turned down.
To learn more about our automobile market research tools, contact us today. We’ll be happy to show you what makes us the best choice for your next study.
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