Ready to connect? Consumer expectations towards connected cars

Ready to connect? Consumer expectations towards connected cars

The connected car topic is not a new one – it has occupied the thoughts of automotive manufacturers and suppliers for many years. However, OEMs continue to invest billions into R&D in order to provide vehicle users with a level of value that will influence their choice of brand, their purchasing decisions and eventually, leverage connected car services to establish new sources of revenue. In addition, the collected customer information can be used for further product development, personalization, improvements in service quality or customer loyalty.

However, does this scenario correspond to reality? Are end users actually utilizing the potential of connected cars? How do customers benefit from connected car solutions?

Together with NTT Group, teknowlogy | PAC tried to find answers to exactly those questions. We conducted a European-wide study of more than 3.000 drivers to gather their expectations and concerns towards connected car services and technologies. In addition, we talked to OEMs and automotive suppliers, as well as insurance and services providers to include the state-of-the art industry perspective on this topic.

Innovative technologies matter more to choice of brand than engine power or gas consumption

While the pace of technological change is accelerating, how much of this innovation is actually shaping the purchasing decisions of today’s drivers? It appears that almost half of all drivers (47%) would be willing to switch brands in order to get access to new or innovative connected car features and services. This challenges the perception that drivers value “classic” technologies (such as engine power, gas consumption) over “new” ones. However, based on the results of our study it is clear that services need to reach a certain level of maturity before they become truly influential.

 

Especially the younger half of the population are more likely to base their choice of brand on connected car features, whereas generation X (+ 45 years) more frequently base their choice of brand still on “classic” technologies.

Connected car services have yet to reach a significant adoption level

What has become clear from our study is that for the large majority of consumers, connected car services and features are still not available. Indeed, for 56% of drivers, the connected car services examined in this study, are not yet available to them. Generally speaking, the more technologically advanced a use case is (such is the case with street condition warnings, for example), the more prevalent they already are.

At the same time however, of those who have already experienced connected car services, almost every second person (46%) complains about the complexity and usability of these services. Additional costs associated with connected services is another drawback that is preventing a wider adoption level and has drivers remain rather skeptical. While OEMs are still debating which business model will be the smartest way to monetize connected car services, this study found that the majority of consumers would prefer one-time payments when purchasing the car (45%); whereas the often considered pay-as-you-use or subscription-based models are not seen as preferable options (less than 10%).

Consumers are comfortable about sharing vehicle-related data, but fear the prospect of their car being hacked or manipulated

Car connectivity does not only increase drivers’ comfort and safety, but it also produces an enormous amount of data. In the connected car, data is continuously recorded, processed and shared with the environment. This not only generates information about the location, speed and condition of the vehicle, it also collects information about driving behavior, habits and interests of the driver.

While 89% are comfortable with sharing their vehicle diagnostic data, almost the same percentage of consumers are deeply concerned about the prospect of their personal data being shared with third parties (86%). Similarly, 83% of consumers are concerned that increased connectivity means that their vehicle will be manipulated or hacked.

For even more interesting findings and more information on country, age, and vehicle-type differences, please visit the www.connectedcarstudy.com website (free download of the study report available).