We all know all sorts of technologies, everything from autopilot systems and remote diagnostics to stolen vehicle tracking, offer some potentially big benefits to the trucking industry.
But are truckers willing to pay extra for them? And if so, how much extra?
Global consulting firm Accenture recently conducted a survey posing those very questions to consumers in China, Germany and the U.S. regarding a range of automobile technologies and found – on average – drivers would opt to pay up to an additional 10% of a new car’s sticker price to obtain various in-car systems offering a variety of entertainment, information, remote and driver support services.
In the U.S., where average sticker prices for new light vehicles hit $34,428 in December last year, according to Kelly Blue Book, that “up to 10%” figure translates into some $3,400 or so for technology.
As a point of reference, Axel Schmidt, managing director in Accenture’s automotive practice, noted that the firm polled 5,111 drivers over the age of 18 who operate a vehicle on a regular basis in China, Germany and the U.S. and who also own a smartphone or plan to buy one in the next 6-12 months.
“Consumers are becoming more inclined to make separate purchases of the in-car functions they want most,” he added. “We believe that the demand for a range of features, from safety systems and remote services to parking assist technology, will increase in the coming years.”
Indeed, Accenture believes that by 2025, all new cars sold will be connectivity-enabled. But the question remains exactly what kinds of “connectivity” will appeal most to drivers. Some indications from the firm’s survey include:
- The functionalities consumers would be most willing to spend more on include remote services such as when a vehicle automatically sends a distress message (63%) to the nearest emergency center when a life-threatening situation occurs or alerts when vehicle breaks down (41%).
- There is also high interest in remote diagnostics (75%) and vehicle lifecycle management reports (71%), with nearly half of the respondents (43%) willing to spend extra on these features.
- Over half (55%) want location functionalities like stolen vehicle tracking and recovery, navigation, and remote parked car locator systems, with a third (29%) willing pay more for those in-car services.
- All told, seven in ten of all respondents (71%) would pay up to 10% of a car’s price to add such functionality to their light vehicles.
Accenture also emphasized that consumer interest in key in-car technologies is likely to grow, with 75% and 71% respectively expecting to use vehicle health and vehicle lifecycle management services in the future.
Appeal for location-based services is also anticipated to gain popularity, with 78% of respondents to Accenture’s poll saying they are interested in having a stolen vehicle recovery and tracking system in the future, with 71% desiring features like the remote parked car locator and just under two-thirds, or 59%, welcoming the use of in-car navigation systems down the road.
In addition, 35% of drivers surveyed by the firm desiring “concierge services” such as voice-activated responses to location-based questions, with 19% willing to pay an additional fee to get it.
A further 32% want “smart home” integration for their vehicles, which provides the ability to control automated devices within the home from a connected vehicle, and 20% would pay more for it.
Yet how much are folks willing to spend for such offerings? Here’s what Accenture’s poll found:
- Drivers surveyed in China would be willing to spend an average of 16% of the new car’s price on “infotainment” features, while U.S. drivers stop at 15% and Germans at 11% of a new car’s sticker price.
- For “convenience” services, drivers in the U.S. are willing to spend on average up to 16% of a car’s price, followed by China at 15% and Germany at 11%.
- With regard to payments for in-car services, nearly half of respondents (47%) are willing to make an upfront payment when buying a new car, or pay for connected services over the lifetime of the services.
- More than one-third of those polled (34%) want free basic services subject to in-car advertising with the option to upgrade to premium versions of services.
- And 32% would consider paying a monthly fee for connected vehicle services using a credit card or PayPal.
Some things to think about as we continue diving deeper into the connected vehicle future, in both the car market and commercial trucking space.