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Studies Say Car Buyers Want to Stay Connected

In-car technology
Photo Courtesy of Infiniti

Two new studies by Cisco and J.D. Power and Associates show what car buyers want from their next vehicle.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study received responses from 16,758 vehicle owners, which show that car owners are interested in applications for phone pairing, wireless internet, better voice recognition and other features that would improve vehicle infotainment systems. Of those listed above, J.D. Power and Associates noticed that vehicle owners tended to be more interested and willing to purchase features like a fuel economy indicator and active shutter grille vents. Active shutter grille vents close at higher speeds to help maximize fuel economy. This technology has been available on a few vehicles from domestic automakers, including the 2013 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SFE and Dodge Dart Aero.

“Vehicle owners are continually aware of rising fuel costs and the need for better fuel economy,” says Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. He adds that car shoppers have become more tech-savvy, and that they’re interested in new technology that helps them save money on fuel.

While there is some interest in autonomous driving, the J.D. Power study finds that vehicle owners are more interested in semi-autonomous functions like emergency braking and steering and automatic park assist. Smartphone integration is also important. The study shows that 82 percent of car owners with smartphones were attracted to vehicles that allow them to pair their phones with a vehicle's infotainment system.

The Cisco Customer Experience Report is a global study that gathers research from more than 1,500 consumers in 10 countries. The report shows 65 percent of respondents would share personal information, like height, weight and what type of entertainment they enjoy, if it meant they could customize their vehicle and driving experience. In addition, 60 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to provide “biometric information such as fingerprints and DNA samples in return for personalized security or car security.” Cisco says that 83 percent of those surveyed said they research the vehicles they’re considering online, while 17 percent go straight to a dealership.

Cisco says that consumers want to see technology that enhances safety, as well as improvements that save time and money. The survey shows that 52 percent want to track gas prices with in-car tech features. Additionally, 46 percent of respondents said they’d like to be able to track insurance prices, while tracking roadside assistance availability and recall information was important to 35 and 32 percent, respectively.

The Detroit News reports that in-vehicle technology is an “essential selling feature for an automobile,” and that automakers will spend $240 billion on vehicle technology by 2020. “Some of the drivers are government safety mandates for things like improved electronic stability control.”

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