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    • 07/01/19
    • Technology
    • Automotive
    • Global
    • English

    Smart car technology and the evolution of brand loyalty

    Summer is upon us and the chance to enjoy a road trip with car technology glory is here. What are today’s consumers looking for when it comes to purchasing a new vehicle? Are car brands meeting their expectations?

    It had been a while since I bought my last car – and, as someone who follows the auto industry closely, I was keenly aware of all the smart gadgets and services I could choose from. From self-driving capabilities to Wi-Fi to safety features, today’s cars are essentially smart homes on wheels; the options are extraordinary, and every choice comes with a price.

    Tech upgrades become a priority

    I had a number of luxury wagon models in mind – and when it came to car technology, I also had some clear “wants.” As mobile tech has grown, I have watched what were once gee-whiz gizmos and functions transform into mainstream “must haves.” So, apart from all-wheel drive, a sunroof, and curb appeal, I wanted my new wagon to have Bluetooth, standard connectivity features and Apple CarPlay. It is true—the other car in my household is just fine and would serve my transit needs; but I was looking for some upgrades to my connectivity suite, so I would feel safer on the road.

    But when I decided on a vehicle and looked up the trim/package that included Apple CarPlay, I was aghast to find that it would cost me nearly $10,000 to get this simple feature. The manufacturer was holding CarPlay hostage within wheel upgrades and other frivolous nonsense – on the assumption that spoiled, tech-loving folks like me would bite the bullet.

    My reaction was immediate and surprising, even to myself – I decided to find another “first choice” model. Forget about heated and cooled 10+way power-adjustable front seats or any semi-conscious investment I had in the iconic badge; getting Apple CarPlay into my vehicle at a reasonable price became my top priority.

     

    Smart car technology is the new normal

    Recent research for GfK’s Auto Tech study in the US shows that my decision was actually somewhat predictable. We found that 50% of auto intenders will switch brands or models if a vehicle does not have most-wanted technologies. Car purchases are no longer about the car brand that your mom or dad insisted on, but whether you can link your latest playlist to the car stereo.

    Luxury intenders are most likely to choose smart tech over brand loyalty. Over one-third (35%) said they would definitely consider switching brands to get cutting-edge, in-car technology – compared to 23% of non-luxury intenders. Another 55% in the luxury crowd said they would probably think about switching – essentially the same as non-luxury (57%).

    Luxury intenders are also more likely to say that specific technologies are “must haves” for them; for example, almost two-thirds feel this way about active safety technology, versus 46% of non-lux intenders. Not surprisingly, Luxury intenders overall hold  significantly higher interest, demand and willingness to pay for, a range of technologies from autonomous driving to infotainment systems and continue to be a driving force in the adoption of new technologies.

    In my strong but pragmatic desire for advanced car tech, I reflect the intersection of Gen X and Gen Y perspectives—drawn to tech’s perceived ability to improve the driving experience (Gen Y optimism), yet keenly aware that new technologies will be leveraged to command a premium (Gen X cynicism). In this case, the democratization of iOS coupled with Bluetooth might serve my purposes just as well, and I could save the scratch and enjoy a great family vacation or look for a vehicle that doesn’t extort me for this feature. A major car maker recently added Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality after years as a holdout, with some backwards compatibility to shore up recent models. And other brands have built the capacity for future flash updates into their vehicles to keep them relevant.

    The bottom line

    One thing the car industry has learned – the customer always wins. Overall consumer attitudes are changing especially when it comes to mobility and independence. When auto buyers want something badly, they will not let a little thing like brand loyalty stand in their way. If one manufacturer does not build it, consumers will leave for one that will. And as smart technology becomes more mainstream in other areas of people’s lives, the pressure on auto makers to provide the same devices and access at reasonable prices will only grow.

     

    Want more tech insights on the auto industry?

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  • RegioGraph LocationAdvice: On-the-go business site analyses
    • 06/06/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    • RegioGraph
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Regional Market Data
    • Global
    • English

    RegioGraph LocationAdvice: On-the-go business site analyses

    GfK's newly released online tool RegioGraph LocationAdvice allows expansion and location planners to carry out location and competitor analyses on digital maps while traveling or away from the office.

  • New digital maps available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    • 05/10/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
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    • Energy
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    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Global
    • English

    New digital maps available for Germany, Austria and Switzerland

    GfK has released updated map editions for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with coverage of hundreds of changes to administrative and postcode regions. Up-to-date digital maps are the basis for carrying out accurate geographic analyses in geomarketing software and BI systems. 

  • GfK releases 2019 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland
    • 05/08/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    GfK releases 2019 purchasing power for Austria and Switzerland

    According to GfK's latest study, the Swiss have a 2019 per capita purchasing power of €42,067, significantly outpacing the Austrians (€24,067) and Germans (€23,779). 

  • Map of the Month: Six-digit postcodes, Colombia 2019
    • 04/24/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    • Picture of the month
    • Global
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    Map of the Month: Six-digit postcodes, Colombia 2019

    GfK's Map of the Month for April depicts the six-digit postcode boundaries for a region of Colombia.

  • RegioGraph 2019 now available
    • 03/28/19
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    • RegioGraph
    • Global
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    RegioGraph 2019 now available

    GfK has released the latest version of its geomarketing software RegioGraph. 

  • Map of the Month: Single-person households, Germany 2018
    • 02/27/19
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    • Global
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    Map of the Month: Single-person households, Germany 2018

    GfK's Map of the Month for February shows the 2018 distribution of single-person households in Germany.

  • New digital maps available for 54 countries in the Americas
    • 02/19/19
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    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Global
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    New digital maps available for 54 countries in the Americas

    GfK has released a new, comprehensively overhauled map edition for the Americas.

  • Regensburg remains top spot for single households in Germany
    • 02/13/19
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    Regensburg remains top spot for single households in Germany

    Germany’s highest share of single-person households is in the urban district of Regensburg, while the highest share of households with children is in the rural district of Cloppenburg.

  • Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Germany 2019
    • 01/14/19
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    • Picture of the month
    • Global
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    Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Germany 2019

    GfK's Map of the Month for January shows the projected distribution of purchasing power in Germany in 2019.

  • Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power density, Europe 2018
    • 12/20/18
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
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    • Geodata
    • Digital Maps
    • Digital Maps
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power density, Europe 2018

    GfK's Map of the Month for December shows the 2018 distribution of purchasing power density (mil. € per km²) across Europe at the two-digit postcode level.

  • Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Europe 2018
    • 11/15/18
    • Fashion and Lifestyle
    • Financial Services
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    • Media and Entertainment
    • Retail
    • Technology
    • Travel and Hospitality
    • Automotive
    • Consumer Goods
    • Energy
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    • Geodata
    • Picture of the month
    • Global
    • English

    Map of the Month: GfK Purchasing Power, Europe 2018

    GfK's Map of the Month for November shows the distribution of purchasing power across Europe in 2018.