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A surprise – or not?

John Day

John Day

Posted Aug 5, 2012
0 Comments


It’s an article of faith in the automotive industry that consumers want to bring their smartphones into their cars and use them in pretty much the same way they would anywhere else – safely, of course.

But a Harris Poll suggests otherwise: three in four car owners fear in-car connectivity, according to a Harris Interactive survey, believing that such technologies are too distracting or dangerous to have. More than half of respondents suggest that automakers “have taken technology for road use too far.”

Loss of privacy is a concern for a majority (62%) of those Harris surveyed. Two in five 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%).

Three in five (61%) car owners surveyed view their vehicle as a haven from the outside world and thus don’t want to always be connected while driving.

Not surprisingly, in-car connectivity is more important to younger drivers than it is to Baby Boomers. Fifty eight percent of respondents between 18 and 35 think connectivity is important compared with just 39% of car owners 50 to 66. Two-thirds of younger car owners say a vehicle’s technology has some influence or a great deal of influence on the next car they purchase. Just 46% of vehicle owners between 50 and 66 feel the same way.

According to the poll, 58% of car owners believe that in-car connectivity makes driving more enjoyable and 57% feel safer (57%) being connected while on the road. Men enjoy connectivity more than women do by 64% to 53%, and men also feel safer with it (61% to 54%).

“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,” says Mike Chadsey, vice president, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive. “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.”

What do you think? Are automakers taking technology too far, too fast?

Harris Poll, Smartphones, Harris Interactive

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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