Most car buyers are now interested in connected car features

Connected cars are becoming more sought after according to a new piece of research from AT&T Drive Studio and Ericsson.

This is the second year that the study has been conducted, and it questioned drivers who are likely to buy a new car in the next three years in the US, along with Mexico, Brazil, China, and Germany.

For the purposes of the research, a connected car is defined as one which has a wireless internet connection allowing it to run apps, internet searches, stream services and so forth, and also (obviously enough) allowing the vehicle to operate as a Wi-Fi hotspot.

And the Wi-Fi hotspot element is the most sought after feature in a new car, at least according to US consumers who ranked this as number one when it came to the benefits of the connected car.

Three quarters of respondents said that connected car features were important when it came to deciding their next car, and 78 per cent of car buyers said they'd delay a purchase by a year in order to buy a car with connected services from their preferred manufacturer.

That's some strong interest in connected cars. Incidentally, 62 per cent of those surveyed in the US were aware of the meaning of the term connected car – those who were unaware had the term explained to them before they answered the above questions.

As to how consumers would like to pay for their connected car's data usage, those in the US would opt to add it to a shared data plan.

Orvar Hurtig, vice president, Ericsson Global Services and Head of Industry and Society at Ericsson, commented: "For the second year in a row, we are witnessing a growing trend where consumers in different parts of the world are not only increasingly aware of the term connected car, but they are placing greater importance on connected car features and services.

"In addition to safety and infotainment features enabled by connectivity, automakers can also use the connectivity for over the air software updates and advanced downloadable engine configurations. For the consumer, this means that connected car services will open up the ability to add new capabilities to their car and enhance their driving experience for years after they purchase a connected car."

It will, of course, also open up the danger of cars being hacked – and security is still the big looming question mark when it comes to the connected vehicle.