What Do New Car Buyers Want in the Era of Connected Cars?

Authored by Lisa Joy Rosner | CMO

By Lisa Joy Rosner, Chief Marketing Officer, Otonomo

In June of 2018, Otonomo, in conjunction with Edison Research, fielded an in-depth consumer study of over 1,000 Americans who either own connected cars or are considering a purchase of a new connected car. The study’s goal was to understand what features these drivers are primarily interested in, as well as their feelings about connected car data and privacy. We learned consumers are willing to share their personal data with businesses they trust and when they have a clear understanding of how their data will be used.

Our top finding was that these drivers look to connected car data as a way to gain the benefits of increased convenience and safety in their driving experience.  In this post I will start with dissecting the top desires of consumers in the connected car era, but future posts will cover additional learnings from the survey results.

Having a connected car opens up the possibility for new features, many of which are not yet currently available. We asked new car buyers about their interest in these future potential features and the top two features which garnered a “very interested” result were both related to the safety of the vehicle occupants. The top result was alerts about dangerous road conditions ahead, while the second highest scoring was a faster response time in the event of an accident. New car buyers are interested in apps and services that can help them first avoid any problems on the road, and second ones that can better help them in the case where there is an accident.


As you can see from the charts, safety is the top priority for consumers considering a purchase, closely followed by features which make travel more convenient, such as better maintenance alerts, assistance with routing around traffic, and locating nearby electric vehicle charging stations.

These results point directly to how our relationship with our vehicle is changing in the era of connected cars. We expect more from our cars than just transferring us from Point A to Point B. We want them to do more to help keep us safe, as well as make our drive take less effort. Effectively this creates more of a partnership with  our cars and drivers have shown they are willing to share data and overcome any privacy concerns if there is trust and transparency and if  the features they receive enhance and improve this partnership. 80% of drivers who want these services are willing to share this data. When asked what factors make them more comfortable with this data exchange, they ranked a trustworthy company, understanding how the data in being used, and that sharing this data makes their travel physically safer.

We will drill deeper into these findings around data sharing in later blog posts, but the results point directly to the fact that the relationship between car consumers and car manufactures is rapidly evolving with the rise of connected cars. Consumers are willing to share data with the auto manufactures, but only with trusted brands, and only in exchange for direct value to themselves in terms of enhanced safety or convenience. We have shifted from a time when you might engage with the auto brand once every 10 years as you purchased a new vehicle, to now where you have an ongoing deep relationship with your auto brand of choice, founded on the data your connected car creates and distributes. Consumers are very interested in these new capabilities and enhanced brand relationship, but only so much as the “what’s in it for me” question is answered and they receive safer, easier to use modes of transportation.

Stay tuned for our next connected car consumers insight as we continue to analyze the results of the survey.

For access to the full report click here

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