Car Owners Like Connected-Vehicle Features, But Only 30% Have Them

Few people buy the very basic model of a given vehicle. Most buy something more up-featured and for a significant and growing number of them that includes at least some vehicle connectivity, whether functional telematics, or infotainment. 

And when they do buy it, they aren't disappointed. They had better not be: Americans spend about 6.5 hours per week driving, on average. Nielsen, in a recent study, found that 39% of the 44% of consumers who plan to buy a new car in the next two years say they are very likely to buy one with connectivity features in the head unit. 

A new study by the firm, executed with Harris Poll, finds that 90% of connected-vehicle owners are happy with the connected technology in their cars. The survey-based study, which queried owners on six telematics or infotainment features, also found that the leading driver for satisfaction is functional personalization of the telematics technology. And consumers are also looking for the "'tainment" side of infotainment: they want hip and fun technology. 



Nielsen queried 4,094 vehicle owners last October on their experience with vehicle-to-driver communication, voice activated controls; Internet enabled navigation; personal assistance service, such as GM's OnStar function; vehicle internet connectivity and vehicle mobile apps. 

Parents, Nielsen said, are more likely to have all six connected-car features than non-parents, and are more likely to use the features for at least half their rides. But overall, only about 30% of those polled own cars with at least one connected feature, with most of them — 18% — having vehicle-to-driver technology. 

Sixteen percent of those who said they have some form of connected-car functionality said they have voice-activated features, and over half use it, with 87% satisfaction. Only 11% of owners Nielsen surveyed said they have Internet enabled navigation. Eight percent have personal assistant service, and 7% have vehicle Internet connectivity, which is a relatively new feature that is most strongly promoted and used by, again, General Motors. Only 7% have vehicle mobile apps. Levels of satisfaction for all six features is high, between 87% and 91% of owners polled.

A minority of respondents find the features distracting, complicated and stressful. A third say the connectivity isn't a good value, and maybe a hassle. But the overwhelming majority like it.

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