Chapter 2

Technology Armed Consumers with Mighty Big Bullets

For more than two decades, I worked in the automotive industry for top global ad agencies on major automotive accounts such as Nissan, Subaru, Lincoln-Mercury, and Toyota. Over those years, I watched that industry completely change its approach to serving auto buyers. First, the Internet brought massive, fundamental changes in the way people shop for cars and trucks. When I first started in the industry in the late ’80’s, auto shoppers used to have to go to a dealership, look at the selection, talk to a salesperson, then drive to another dealership, and begin all over again, just to compare vehicles and deals.

Then, suddenly, they could shop online. They didn’t have to run all over town and spend a full day traveling from dealership to dealership to learn what was available, what the listed prices were, what vehicle options were available, and so on. Almost overnight, it seemed, auto shoppers could conduct significant comparison shopping in their pajamas at home and could narrow down their choices before heading to a dealership to finalize the purchase.

The next revolution took place when auto shoppers were able to “build” their own vehicles. Previously, the auto manufacturers built the cars and trucks that they believed would be best sellers—the vehicles they thought people wanted, in the colors that were most popular and with the features and options they assumed most people wanted. But consumers wanted to equip their ...

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