What does 2017 hold for the automotive industry?

The automotive industry is facing a serious shake-up. Technological advances and changing policies are leading to the development and implementation of ground-breaking trends such as autonomous and electric vehicles, and increased connectivity (the much-heralded ‘Internet of Things’). Or, in other words, in ten years’ time we could all spend our journeys binging on Netflix on the back seat while our environmentally-friendly cars quietly navigate themselves to our destinations.  

While the months and years ahead are rich with excitement and new opportunities, 2017 also brings with it a great deal of uncertainty. With so much change hurtling over the horizon, how are automotive brands supposed to survive, let alone thrive? 

Starcount & Haymarket have come together to understand the automotive industry from the view of the consumer. Our collective aim is to help automotive brands and manufacturers to become market leaders in the face of significant market disruption.

How do we do this?

By combining Starcount’s social intelligence with What Car?’s automotive expertise to reveal not just what customers are searching – what they consider, when and why – but also what matters most to them in their everyday lives.

We’re kicking off our partnership with an insight into the UK electric car market, launching at the What Car? Awards (11th Jan).


While electric cars are already big news in the US, they are yet to hit the mainstream in the UK. However, our data suggests that is about to change; over the past 6 months the UK electric car audience has grown by over 18%, while whatcar.com have seen a 43% growth in search traffic for electric cars. This newly-interested group is ready to learn about all things electric cars and ripe for marketing – but how can brands take advantage of this opportunity?

As we delve into people’s differing motivations for becoming interested in electric cars, a full and fascinating picture starts to emerge. 56% of the UK electric cars audience had their interest sparked by a passion for technology, with Tesla being the automotive manufacturer who wields the most influence over them. A general love of motoring is the second most common motivation, with just under 30% of consumers finding themselves drawn to electric cars because of a broader interest in the automotive industry. Surprisingly, only 14% of the audience have moved towards electric cars for environmental reasons. These eco-friendly few are gravitating towards affordable, mainstream brands such as Kia, Hyundai and Citroen, all of which have already developed electric models.

This insight is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring the automotive market. With a series of industry workshops planned to delve deeper into the hot topics and consumer interests, we’re doing everything we can to help you stay ahead of the game in 2017 and beyond. Watch this space! 

See where your brand ranks and get in touch to get exclusive insight and find out more about how consumer motivations can enhance your marketing strategy. 

Did you know that winning the Best Electric Car at the What Car? Awards leads to your review getting three times as many visits on the What Car? website as your competitors? May the best car win!*

The What Car? Awards take place on the 11th January 2017. 

*[Edited to include awards results] Congratulations to the winner of Electric Car of the Year, the Renault Zoe!