NEW YORK, N.Y. – In-car technology is revolutionizing the driving experience, especially when it comes to connectivity options, including mobile device connection to the Internet, navigation systems, emergency response systems, and driving habit monitoring devices. Yet, more than three in four car owners (76%) report that they believe in-car connectivity technologies are too distracting and even dangerous to have.  In addition, more than half (55%) argue that automakers have taken technology for road use too far.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,634 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) of whom 1,991 own or lease a car, truck, minivan or SUV, surveyed online between May 7 and May 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Beyond fearing how connectivity technology may impede driver focus, a strong majority of car owners (62%) also worry about how technology may interfere with their privacy, including where and how they drive.  Just over two in five U.S. car owners (41%) believe that their insurance rates could increase because of what in-car technology reveals about their driving habits. This is more of a concern among younger drivers between 18 and 35 (46%) and men (46%).

American car owners are, however, conflicted when it comes to technology and their cars. Three in five (61%) view their car as a haven from the outside world and thus don’t want to always be connected while driving. Yet, more than half of car owners find that in-car connectivity makes driving more enjoyable (58%) and makes them feel safer (57%) while on the road.  Men in particular enjoy having connectivity in their cars (64%) more than women (53%) and feel safer with technology on-board (61%) compared to women (54%).

The trend of embracing in-car technology is clearly generational. It’s the Baby Boomer generation that finds staying connected while in their vehicle the least important. Only 39% of car owners 50 to 66 think in-car connectivity is important compared to 58% of those who are between 18 and 35. When it comes to new car purchase decisions, two in three car owners between 18 and 35 (66%) say that the vehicle’s technology has some or a great deal of influence on the next car they choose. This drops to just (46%) for those between 50 and 66.

According to recent data produced by the 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study, its safety technologies such as back-up cameras, blind spot warning systems and pedestrian sensors that have seen the most interest in the past year, compared to entertainment and connectivity technologies.  For those new car buyers interested in entertainment and connectivity technologies, 24% state that they would consider the option of docking their smart phone in their vehicle compared to just 14% who would consider having their entertainment applications built-in.

So What?

“The data shows that consumers generally favor the safety and entertainment they find with in-car connectivity, but they don’t want to give up their privacy by sharing detailed information about their driving habits with companies that may stand to benefit from the information,” said Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive. “In addition, the fear of technology distraction seems to outweigh the other perceived benefits of having in-car connectivity options. Car makers should take note; depending on the generation of their target market, in-car connectivity can have influence on the buying decision, but too much of a good thing may just be too much. Ultimately, when it comes to marrying technology with their car, consumers want it to be both safe and in a way that they can control.  Americans may be addicted to their technology but they also love the freedom represented by their automobile and are not ready to have anything interfere with their driving experience.”

More insights and trends on consumer preferences for over 60 advanced automotive technologies can be found in the 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study. Among an array of topics, the study evaluates distracted driving habits, preferences for mobile applications within the connected car of the future, and the perceptions of time needed to offset premiums of alternative powertrain technologies. To learn more about the 2012 AutoTECHCAST(SM) study, which is available now, please visit: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/Products/AutoTECHCASTUS.aspx

 

TABLE 1
CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS FOR CARS

“Today, many vehicles manufacturers offer many connectivity options for their vehicles. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about having these technologies in your vehicles?”

Base: Own or lease a vehicle

AGREE (NET) Strongly agree Somewhat agree DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat

Disagree

Strongly

disagree

Not at all sure
% % % % % % %
I think these technologies can cause too much distraction and are dangerous to have 76 41 36 20 14 6 4
I worry about letting companies know too much about where I am and how I drive 62 30 32 32 21 11 6
I consider my car a haven from the outside world and do not want to always be connected 61 25 36 34 22 12 5
These technologies make driving more enjoyable 58 19 39 35 23 12 7
I feel safer having these technologies in my vehicle 57 16 41 36 24 12 7
Auto makers have gone too far with all this technology in cars 55 22 33 40 24 16 5
I think it is important to stay connected when in my vehicle 47 16 32 49 30 19 4
I believe my insurance rates could increase because they will know my driving habits 41 15 26 48 26 22 11

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 2
CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS FOR CARS – by generation and gender

“Today, many vehicles manufacturers offer many connectivity options for their vehicles. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about having these technologies in your vehicles?”
Percentage saying “Strongly/Somewhat Agree”

Base: Own or lease a vehicle

Total Generation Gender
Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-49)

Baby

Boomers

(50-66)

Matures

(67+)

Men Women
% % % % % % %
I think these technologies can cause too much distraction and are dangerous to have 76 71 77 78 79 75 77
I worry about letting companies know too much about where I am and how I drive 62 63 62 64 56 65 59
I consider my car a haven from the outside world and do not want to always be connected 61 59 58 65 61 60 62
These technologies make driving more enjoyable 58 69 64 49 48 64 53
I feel safer having these technologies in my vehicle 57 63 61 53 53 61 54
Auto makers have gone too far with all this technology in cars 55 51 51 60 58 54 56
I think it is important to stay connected when in my vehicle 47 58 48 39 45 50 45
I believe my insurance rates could increase because they will know my driving habits 41 46 40 41 31 46 36

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 3
AVAILABILITY OF IN VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY ON NEXT CAR PURCHASE

“How much of an influence would the availability of in-vehicle technology features have on the car brands you will consider for your next purchase?

Base: Owns or leases a vehicle

Total Generation Gender
Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-49)

Baby

Boomers

(50-66)

Matures

(67+)

Men Women
% % % % % % %
It would have a great deal of influence 10 11 12 8 10 12 8
It would have some influence 48 56 51 38 47 50 45
It would have no influence 42 33 37 54 43 38 47

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 7 to 16, 2012 among 2,634 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,991 currently own or lease a vehicle. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

 

 

Source: PRNewswire / Harris Poll

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