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Press release
Automotive|Trends and Forecasting|Smart Home|United States|English

Smart car technology has become a deal breaker for US auto “intenders”

New York, NY, 18.11.2019

Loyal auto buyers would consider abandoning preferred brands to get most-wanted devices, services – GfK

Smart technology is breaking up long-established relationships – between car buyers and the auto brands they have been loyal to for years.

As the industry gathers for the LA Auto Show this week, a new Auto Tech Insights study from GfK is shedding light on the complex connections between consumers, cars, and digital tech. In the new research, eight in 10 (79%) US auto intenders – those who plan to buy or lease a new vehicle – say they would “probably” or “definitely” consider abandoning a favorite vehicle or auto maker to get the latest smart technologies. 

This attitude is strongest among young intenders, with close to 4 in 10 (39%) in Gen Y (ages 23 to 41) saying they would definitely consider a brand switch, compared to just 15% of Baby Boomers (ages 54 and above). (See Table 1.)

Gen Z (ages 18 to 22) are even more likely to consider giving up an established brand preference to get new technology. This is important, since this younger group is still relatively new to vehicle ownership – so their loyalty is not as entrenched as their older counterparts. 

Men are also more certain than women that they might ditch a favorite auto brand for new digital devices and services. Three in ten (31%) male intenders said they would definitely consider such a switch, compared to 22% of female intenders. But women were more likely to say they would probably think about changing brands (59% versus 47%).

Table 1. Would consider giving up on a preferred vehicle

 

Total

Men

Women

Gen Z (18-22)

Gen Y (23-41)

Gen X (42-53)

Boomers 54+

Definitely + Probably (net)

79

78

81

89

85

82

73

Definitely

27

31

22

47

39

28

15

Probably

53

47

59

42

46

55

58

Probably not

17

18

16

9

13

15

23

Definitely not

4

4

3

3

2

3

5

* among those who are loyal to an auto brand

In addition, four in ten (44%) of intenders reported that smart auto technology has already influenced one of their car purchase decisions. Again, younger intenders – from Generations Y and Z – were much more likely to say this; levels for Gen X and Boomers were 20 to 25 points lower. 

When asked which technology had occasioned a change in purchase decision, these intenders cited active safety technology most often (43%), followed – at some  distance – by connected vehicle and infotainment systems (both 21%). 

Looking ahead to their next vehicles, intenders cited the same technologies as “must-haves” – active safety technology (33%), connected vehicle (24%), and infotainment systems (19%). Autonomous driving and electric vehicles are slowly winning acceptance, with one in six intenders seeing them as essential today. GfK also found that those who plan to buy luxury vehicles have much stronger interest in these emerging capabilities.

The Auto Tech study provides forward-looking insights on vehicle intentions, specifically focusing on advanced tech adoption and interest.  GfK interviewed 3,480 auto intenders in August and September 2019. This module is part of the larger AutoMobilityTM syndicated tracking program, which interviews upwards of 275,000 new vehicle intenders a year. 

   
 
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