Many drivers don't know their car has connectivity features

Pretty much every car will have connectivity features within the next four years, but consumers are still unaware of the benefits this new technology brings. Thirty-nine per cent of drivers are unaware their car has connectivity features, at all. Manufacturers are also unsure how to use the opportunity to open new revenue streams, busting the doors wide open for technology giants.

Those are the results of a new study conducted by TNS and the BearingPoint Institute. It includes 3,700 owners of connected cars in Europe. One of the highlights of the report is that people are very excited about new features, especially navigation, driver assistance and in-car entertainment.

For almost two-thirds (59 per cent), these features influenced their decision when purchasing a car, and 32 per cent said it was 'important' when buying a vehicle.

But original equipment manufacturers (OEM) are struggling to turn this trend into new revenue streams, the report suggests, giving the opportunity to tech giants like Google, or Apple. They're already investing heavily in infotainment and geo-location functions, trying to elbow their way into the market.

“Car manufacturers need to act fast if they are to avoid being overtaken by the big tech players,” said Remy Pothet, Global Automotive Sector Head at TNS.

“Smartphones are already integrating entertainment and navigation functionality with existing on-board systems, such as Apple’s Car Play and the Google powered Open Automotive Alliance. Smartphone apps can help drivers find their cars if they’ve forgotten where they parked, unlock them remotely and even prepare the interior temperature long before the driver arrives.”

Test drives are also becoming more important, the report says. Almost half (48 per cent) of drivers using connected features have said the technology was demonstrated to them in the showroom. “Explaining and showing the technical capabilities of the car early in the sales process is critical to the uptake and use of connectivity,” the report concludes.