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Generation Gap

John Day

John Day

Posted Aug 29, 2014

This probably shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s an observation supported by research: younger people are a lot more interested in automotive connectivity than older people are, and they are even more interested in mobile connectivity – smartphones and the like.

Lochbridge, formerly the Professional Services Division of Compuware, surveyed consumers ranging in age from 18 to 65 to assess their opinions on automotive connectivity, and the survey revealed a generation gap of sorts.

According to the survey “Automotive Connectivity and the Generational Divide,” a majority (53%) of consumers overall think smartphones, tablets and other mobile technology is more advanced than automotive technology.
But the millennial generation – people aged 18 to 35 – want more than just access to apps and entertainment. Eighty percent of respondents younger than 35 say they want cars that know them personally; had a better understanding of their preferences and could predict what they needed and guide them appropriately. They want their cars to know them in much the same way that their smartphones do.

“Millennials are always-on and always-connected,” said Bob Kennedy, Lochbridge Vice President, Automotive. They want access to more apps (60.7% of respondents under 45 versus 25% over 45), and they expect more options (75.8% to 48.7%). “If gaps exist between automotive and mobile technologies, millennials turn to their smartphones for in-vehicle information and application needs.”

Millennials want more while older generations want less. Kennedy describes an “adoption cliff” for automotive connectivity where the receptivity for in-vehicle technology falls sharply as folks grow older. While 61 percent of those under the age of 45 indicated that they want to safely and easily access applications and information while in a vehicle, only 25 percent of those over the age of 45 indicated the same preference.

One thing respondents could all agree on is safety. Sixty seven percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to pay more for in-vehicle technology that enhances their safety.

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News ( 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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