ATLANTA: US car buyers are becoming more interested in the technology contained in a vehicle than in the brand or the body style, according to new research.
Autotrader, the car-shopping site, surveyed 1,020 vehicle owners in the US for its Car Tech Impact Study and reported that 48% prioritized in-vehicle technology related to safety and entertainment.
And this is not a vague awareness or limited curiosity: more than half (56%) have done their research and know exactly what in-vehicle technology they are interested in before they visit a dealership.
Younger car buyers, 18- 34 year-olds in particular, are generally more tech savvy and are less willing to compromise on the features they want, the study noted. In fact, 55% of millennial drivers expected to spend an additional $2,600 to get their desired tech features.
"Technology has become the deciding factor for car buyers selecting a vehicle," said Michelle Krebs, Autotrader senior analyst. "Automakers must deliver innovative features or risk consumers looking elsewhere."
Convenience and entertainment features such as voice commands and Wi-Fi appear to be more sought after than safety features such as driver assist technology.
Advanced, adaptive navigation systems, technology that provides wireless device charging, cand onnectivity systems, such as General Motors' OnStar, Ford's Sync and Toyota's EnTune, are all high on consumer's want list, the study said.
Regardless of age or comfort with technology, 53% of consumers expected vehicle technology to be every bit as robust as smartphone technology.
If connectivity was most desired, seven in ten respondents also said they would consider paying more for driver-assist technology such as blind-spot monitoring or adaptive cruise control in their next vehicle purchase.
And experience with such advanced technologies is likely to lead to quicker adoption of these features. Three out of four drivers who own a vehicle with these advanced technologies (adaptive cruise, collision warning, etc.) said it helps make them a better driver and feel safer.
They are not yet prepared to make the leap to a self-driving vehicle, however, as 65% had concerns over system failures.
Data sourced from Autotrader; additional content by Warc staff