- Digital assistants powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are increasingly being embraced by the automotive industry. The latest examples include Avis Car Rental announcing a Google Assistant action that will arrive for Google Home next month, and Kia Motors revealing its new Amazon Alexa skill in a press release.
- Avis’s Google Assistant implementation is designed to give members of its loyalty program more immediate access to the booking and reservation process, with AI technology being leveraged to create a more intuitive and seamless user experience, said Arthur Orduna, chief innovation officer at Avis Budget Group, in the press release. Machine learning will be used to anticipate Avis’ customers’ needs and questions.
- Kia released an Alexa skill to market its Niro Crossover vehicle. The skill offers product information such as local dealer inventory and vehicle specs to simplify the car shopping process by offeirng a one-stop source for information about the vehicle while engaging consumers in a popular digital channel. "The future is now with user-friendly interfaces such as Amazon Alexa, and Kia is focused on giving our customers convenience and flexibility in the mobile way today's shoppers are looking for," said Kimberley Gardiner, director of marketing, KMA, in the press release.
The two separate news announcements point to the expanding ways the automotive sector is tapping AI technology. Cars are already becoming the latest smart devices with integrations like Android Auto and automakers including Ford, Toyota, Chrysler, Kia and more including some type of AI experience in their cars. A recent report from Forrester Research even forecasts self-driving cars will become a hub of marketing and advertising opportunity to a captive audience.
The Kia and Avis examples show how the technology can also be leveraged in consumers' homes to drive support online research and drive engagement as well as conversions.
Kia’s Alexa skill is an example of how the technology can be used with more of a marketing purpose. In this case, the skill is limited to a single car model and shows the information potential behind Alexa skills by offering users access to data ranging from specs to real-time updates on local dealer inventory. Research suggests auto buyers are increasingly researching cars online before heading into an auto dealer armed with knowledge about what they want.
Other auto marketers are also leveraging AI tech for a more marketing driven approach. For example, buyers of between 50 and 60 cars a month interact with a Michigan auto dealership's chatbot-enabled ad on Facebook before visiting a location in person, pointing to the technology's potential to find qualified leads and drive them into brick-and-mortar locations. Edmunds also created an Amazon Alexa skill to give voice-enabled access to its car-buying research.