Research maps out Australia’s automotive ascent

The potential for the automotive industry in Australia to rebound, or at least regrow, is the subject of research led by Francis Farrelly, professor of marketing at the RMIT College of Business.

Farrelly will study the marketing, design, and innovation capabilities of Australian organisations operating in the automotive sector.

Farrelly has so far seen a landscape that is open to disruption.

“New technology, global competition, high costs of local labour and changing consumer behaviours are all affecting the profitability of established operations, but there are opportunities for companies that are ready to adapt,” said Farrelly.

At this stage of the research, Farrelly sees a shift in the positioning and culture of the industry is needed to ensure the sector’s future success.

“My research is showing that the firms in the Australian automotive industry will need to work in a more strategic and consumer-centric way than ever before, and that it will be difficult as this is a highly product-oriented industry.

“It will need to develop its capacity in the leadership, marketing, design, sales, retail, and partnership space. Corporate cultures may also need to change to empower employees to embrace the transformation.” said Farrelly.

At the same time, however, Farrelly is optimistic about the potential of local suppliers and manufacturers to be part of an automotive future in Australia.

“While there are many unknowns, the nature of the change both at a macro-environment and industry level, converging trends, and the scale and focus of current investments especially by major international automotive manufacturers and other new players in the changing ecosystems, offers considerable insight for marketing related decision-making going forward in the Australian market,” said Farrelly.

To achieve this, Farrelly sees a need for companies and governments to be proactive and focussed on the long-term future.

The research is funded through a grant from Destination, a business consultancy, which provides services to organisations such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar Land Rover, Isuzu, and Nissan.