Drivers in emerging markets are twice as likely to buy a car based on in-vehicle technology options than vehicle performance, according to “Connected Vehicle: What Drivers Want,” a report from Accenture. And, interest in the technology demonstrates the importance of connected vehicles to the auto industry and future sales in those markets, the management consulting firm said.

Thirty-nine percent of the drivers surveyed said their primary consideration when selecting a new car is in-vehicle technology, compared with 14 percent who said vehicle performance was their primary consideration. The in-vehicle technologies and services covered include navigation and traffic services, autonomous driving aids, entertainment, work tools and learning services, safety services, black-box monitors, which track driving behaviors and influence insurance premiums, and passenger-related services.

“Connected vehicle technology is rapidly becoming a key car-purchasing criterion,” said Luca Mentuccia, global managing director for Accenture’s automotive practice. “As a result, it also is dominating much of the industry’s advertising campaigns. Going forward, consumer expectations for better technology will require that manufacturers provide more customized, interactive websites to better aid consumers in making car-buying decisions. Accenture research has shown that the industry needs to consider adopting digital innovations, such as web chat and mobile-enabled websites, to enhance consumers’ digital shopping preferences.”

Drivers in China, Brazil, Indonesia and Malaysia were the most interested in connected-vehicle technologies and digital services and among the participants in emerging economies. Chinese drivers had the highest current usage rates and strongest desire for future use, followed by drivers in Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia and South Africa. Drivers in the United States have the lowest interest in connected-navigation services, such as real-time traffic information and have low interest in productivity services, such as e-mail and calendar access.

Ninety percent were interested in autonomous driving options related to safety, including lane-changing warning systems, collision-warning systems, lane-keeping systems, automatic braking systems that prevent hitting an object and fully automatic parking. Accenture said demand for aspects of autonomous driving could prompt original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), regulators and industry organizations to address issues preventing widespread use of driverless vehicle technology.

Vehicle health reports were used by 13 percent of drivers surveyed and 39 percent said they expect to use them soon; 12 percent currently use vehicle lifecycle management services and 37 percent expect to start using it soon. Accenture said there is strong interest in those features and OEMs that tap into that demand could open up new revenue streams around maintenance-related digital services and engine and parts wear and tear.

“This increasing level of demand could lead to the rise of concierge-type digital services as drivers outsource the real-time monitoring of engine performance to third-party service providers, expanding the OEM after-sales revenue model,” Mentuccia said. “However, as drivers increase their demand for next-generation connected vehicle technologies across navigation, infotainment, safety, autonomous driving and mobile device integration, vehicle manufacturers face a challenge in being able to meet the complex integration requirements of a broad array of technologies in each range of vehicles. They must also look at maximizing sales by incorporating the right technologies into the appropriate vehicle range in each country.”

OEMs could further benefit from detailed data from vehicles, which could help improve engineering processes, reduce warranty costs and improve relationships with dealers by more efficiently managing parts inventory and service, Accenture said. Data from vehicles also could enable a portfolio of value-added services, such as vehicle diagnostics, driving dashboards and concierge services, delivered to drivers through devices a vehicle’s head unit, smartphone  or tablet, for example.

The survey was conducted by Coleman Parkes Research and consisted of 14,195 online interviews amongst adults in Brazil, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Malaysia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States. All participants had a car and either had, or planned to buy, a smartphone.

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