Drivers willing to pay for tech upgrades, think safety improvements should be free of cost

People who plan to buy a new vehicle within a few years indicate that they are willing to pay extra for improved technology features, but felt that better safety features should not add to the sticker price.

IHS Automotive, part of the data and analytics company IHS Markit, expects that 55 percent of global new vehicle sales in 2020 will be connected, with some combination of autonomy, advanced driver assistance systems, infotainment, remote vehicle control, smartphone integration, and telematics (which includes an array of features such as navigation, emergency assistance, and vehicle diagnostics). At that point, IHS Automotive believes almost half of the vehicles on the road will be connected.

To determine which technologies drivers are most likely to favor in new vehicles, IHS Automotive surveyed more than 4,000 people who plan to buy a new vehicle within 36 months. Respondents were living in four key markets for new vehicle sales: the United States, China, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

Drivers were most likely to say they would look for advanced driver assistance systems in their next vehicle. These systems, designed to help a driver with critical functions and reduce the chance of a crash, include adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.

Respondents in the United States were most likely to say they would pay extra for these features. They indicated that they would be willing to spent $427 to $505 extra for the benefits of advanced driver assistance systems, with the additional expense varying based on the feature.

However, most of the global respondents did not want to pay more for features meant to improve safety. IHS Automotive says many consumers expect advanced driver assistance systems to be included at no cost, especially as previously developed safety features such as electronic stability control and pre-charged brakes have become standard equipment.

Respondents were more willing to commit extra money to software upgrades. Seventy-four percent of those who currently have a vehicle with an infotainment system said they would pay more for updates that would improve their vehicle's functionality.

Those who were identified as Millennials were especially likely to pay more for improvements to a vehicle's software. Eighty-nine percent of these respondents in the U.S. and 90 percent of those in China said they would spend more money on improved software in a vehicle.

Millennials were also more comfortable with the idea of autonomous, of self-driving, technology. Only one-third of all respondents said they would be willing to ride in an autonomous vehicle and purchase one, with another 25 percent indicating that they would ride in one but not purchase one. However, more than half of Millennial respondents said they would buy an autonomous vehicle, with almost 75 percent saying they would be comfortable having an artificial intelligence system drive their vehicle.

Among smartphone apps designed to sync with a vehicle, navigation functions were the most popular. Fifty-two percent of global respondents said they used these apps, including 56 percent of Chinese respondents, 55 percent of German respondents, and 54 percent of American respondents.

Forty-one percent of respondents said they used smartphone apps for weather while in the vehicle, while 37 percent used both music and news apps. Navigation, weather, music, and news were also the most popular apps for embedded vehicle displays.

Music was more popular in China, with 43 percent of these respondents saying they were likely to use these apps in their vehicle. Thirty-seven percent of Chinese respondents said they used social networking apps while in the vehicle, while 30 percent said they used driver's aids.

Communications apps were most popular in Germany, with one-third of respondents using them. Twenty-four percent of Chinese respondents, 20 percent of U.K. respondents, and 14 percent of U.S. respondents said they used this type of app while in the vehicle.

IHS Automotive also noted that while podcasts have seen an increase in popularity recently, drivers in the survey were unlikely to use podcasting apps in their vehicle.


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