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May
4

Volvo’s Trevor Hettesheimer talks about how COVID-19 has changed automotive business

30-second summary:

  • ClickZ and SEW hosted a virtual briefing, The Impact of COVID-19 on the Automotive Industry & Marketing with Trevor Hettesheimer, Manager, KPI’s, Analytics, Search & Planning at Volvo.
  • There has been a sharp drop in automotive sales compared to the 2020 forecast in January, which predicted 16.8 million in total sales and 13.4 million in retail sales.
  • As a result of nationwide shutdowns combined with an oil price war, automotive industry sales were down 41% in March 2020 compared with the previous year.
  • To help mitigate the impact on its business, Volvo took inventory of their U.S. dealerships and assessed who could remain open for sales and service.
  • They then assessed what dealers could do business online and brainstormed ways they could safely deliver cars or allow consumers in lockdown to have their cars serviced.
  • Hettesheimer noted that the most significant drop in sales would likely be April at 60-80% below what was initially forecasted at the start of 2020.
  • Based on the pre-virus forecast, Volvo decided to cut all planned media spend for April and May, except for paid search which is based on consumer intent. They audited their ad copy and messaging to ensure it made sense in the current business climate.
  • Volvo is constantly monitoring the state of the economic recovery across the U.S to inform when they decide to relaunch their advertising.
  • Hettesheimer summarizes four key steps that businesses can use to inform their marketing decisions: take inventory, review all messaging and adjust as appropriate, capture demand with search marketing, and take note of changing search behaviours and tailor content accordingly.

We recently hosted a virtual briefing as part of our new Peer Network series on the impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry and marketing with Trevor Hettesheimer, Manager, KPI’s, Analytics, Search & Planning at Volvo.

Trevor has spent over two decades at Volvo US in a variety of different roles. He began his career as Volvo’s Global Marketing Analyst and helped to bring their first SUV to market, the award-winning XC90.

Hettesheimer currently focuses on reporting and presenting predictive analytics based on Volvo’s KPI’s. Hettesheimer is also responsible for Volvo’s paid search marketing and SEO activities in the US.

In the briefing, which is part of our new Peer Network initiative, Hettesheimer shares insights and data on how COVID-19 has dramatically changed business at Volvo.

The impact of COVID-19 on the automotive industry

In order to understand COVID-19’s impact on business in the US, Hettesheimer and his team consult a key resource available from Bing, the COVID-19 Tracker, which provides real-time reporting on how the virus is tracking in the U.S.

COVID-19COVID-19 Tracker—Source: Bing

“The coronavirus is truly a human tragedy at a global scale,”

says Hettesheimer.

“There are 2.1 million confirmed cases and growing worldwide, with over 144,000 deaths. This is really impacting every nation on the planet. From an economic standpoint, many economists agree that the world is facing the  most serious challenge since WWII ended.”

Hettesheimer went on to