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Vehicle Owners Willing to Pay for Smartphone Functionality, but Not Connectivity

Vehicle Owners Willing to Pay for Smartphone Functionality, but Not Connectivity

By Jeff Youngs,

Connectivity equal to what they get on their smartphones: that's what consumers generally consider a key amenity on their new vehicles. They demand the same access to entertainment, information, and personal communications while they're driving that they have in any other environment--and they're willing to pay for it.

The just-published J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies StudySM measures vehicle owner interest and purchase intent regarding 61 emerging automotive technologies, both before and after being advised of the market price of those technologies. The two technologies that garner the most consumer interest prior to revelation of the price are wireless connectivity systems (which create a communication link between electronic devices and the vehicle), and a device/application link (which allows viewing and controlling electronic devices and apps through the vehicle's factory-installed equipment). However, while 60% of respondents say a wireless connectivity system should be standard equipment on the next vehicle they purchase, only 23% feel the same about device/application link.

"Smartphone ownership has increased to 70% in 2014, and consumers want the same connectivity in their vehicle as they are used to getting from their smartphone, computer or tablet," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "Device/Application link enables the vehicle to replicate the display of a device on the vehicle's screen while managing the device through the vehicle's controls, which is why consumers want--and are willing to pay--to have that technology."

The study also analyzes how much consumers are willing to pay for various technological amenities. Asked whether they'd pay up to $3,000 for an autonomous driving mode in their next vehicle, 24% said they would: up from 21% in 2013 and 20% in 2012. However, stable fuel prices, along with recent improvements in vehicle fuel economy, leave customers with relatively slight interest in spending money on fuel-saving technologies.

Convenience features, such as wireless charging stations and near field communication (which allows a smartphone to control various vehicle functions), receive strong interest.

The 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from 15,171 vehicle owners. The study was fielded in February and March 2014.

Additional Research:

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