Gen Y Likes Auto Accessories, But Not Bling

Millennials go for less flashy add-ons, such as nav systems and custom floor mats.

Jim Leman, Correspondent

April 16, 2015

2 Min Read
Reynolds says AddOnAuto configurator shows what specific cars would look like with accessories
Reynolds says AddOnAuto configurator shows what specific cars would look like with accessories.

To sell dealership accessories and aftermarket products to Millennials, get them imagining their new-vehicle purchase personalized to reflect their individuality.

“Anything that changes the look of the vehicle is something they’ll be attracted to,” says David Stringer, president, Insignia Group, which offers accessory sales and training for dealership finance and insurance personnel.

Do this while they wait for their turn in the F&I office, say experts. Put in their hands an interactive accessories configurator or show them your interactive kiosk. It has a double benefit of occupying their wait time and whetting their interest in add-ons.

“There’s an opportunity here in that dead time to provide a tool to allow customers to do some accessory shopping,” says Reynolds and Reynolds President Ron Lamb, referring to the firm’s AddOnAuto, an enhanced digital accessories configurator.

Consumers buying accessories to personalize their car in turn leads to the likelihood of them buying F&I protection and warranty products to safeguard what’s now exclusively theirs.

Yet 70% of dealers don’t have accessory sales on their radar, Stringer says.

That’s a missed opportunity, causing many Millennials to go elsewhere to buy accessories for the vehicle they just purchased at a dealership.

“Industry statistics illustrate this untapped profit center that dealers can capture,” says Sidney Haider, a Reynolds vice president and general manager of its AddOnAuto accessories business.

According to an MTV study on Millennial automotive consumers, 73% say it’s important their car reflects who they are. More than 70% agree they like to customize their car more on the inside than outside.

Accessories for these buyers aren’t the bling items of a few years ago, but less flashy personalization investments, such as a navigation add-on to a used vehicle not originally so equipped and all-weather custom floor mats.

They also purchase connection cables for smartphones and other infotainment items, leather interior treatments and various protection plans.

“F&I usually thinks that if a buyer puts money into accessories he won’t have funds left to buy service contracts and insurance like tire and wheel protection, but that’s not the case with Millennial buyers,” Haider says.

He says 90% of all car buyers purchase vehicle accessories and six out of 10 buyers will spend at least $1,500. Reynolds says dealers using its accessories program average $500 per vehicle in add-on sales. Margins typically are 50%.

“Customers often have more of a budget than we give them credit for,” Haider says. “As such, we don’t bother to tell them about our accessories programs or the insurance programs that can help them protect their purchase.”

Timing is important.

“With personalization the buyer needs time to understand what the dealership has to offer,” Stringer says. “Accessories presentations and sales help tee up F&I for the products it really wants to sell to buyers, who recognize they now have more reason to protect their personalized purchase.”

About the Author(s)

Jim Leman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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