Three in Four Car Owners Fear In-Car Connectivity Technology is Too Distracting and Dangerous Most American car owners think automakers have gone too far

NEW YORK, Aug. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In-car technology is revolutionizing the driving experience, especially when it comes to connectivity options, including mobile device connection to the Internet, navigation systems, emergency response systems, and driving habit monitoring devices. Yet, more than three in four car owners (76%) report that they believe in-car connectivity technologies are too distracting and even dangerous to have.  In addition, more than half (55%) argue that automakers have taken technology for road use too far.

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These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,634 U.S. adults (ages 18 and over) of whom 1,991 own or lease a car, truck, minivan or SUV, surveyed online between May 7 and May 15, 2012 by Harris Interactive.

Beyond fearing how connectivity technology may impede driver focus, a strong majority of car owners (62%) also worry about how technology may interfere with their privacy, including where and how they drive.  Just over two in five U.S. car owners (41%) believe that their insurance rates could increase because of what in-car technology reveals about their driving habits. This is more of a concern among younger drivers between 18 and 35 (46%) and men (46%).

American car owners are, however, conflicted when it comes to technology and their cars. Three in five (61%) view their car as a haven from the outside world and thus don't want to always be connected while driving. Yet, more than half of car owners find that in-car connectivity makes driving more enjoyable (58%) and makes them feel safer (57%) while on the road.  Men in particular enjoy having connectivity in their cars (64%) more than women (53%) and feel safer with technology on-board (61%) compared to women (54%).  

The trend of embracing in-car technology is clearly generational. It's the Baby Boomer generation that finds staying connected while in their vehicle the least important. Only 39% of car owners 50 to 66 think in-car connectivity is important compared to 58% of those who are between 18 and 35. When it comes to new car purchase decisions, two in three car owners between 18 and 35 (66%) say that the vehicle's technology has some or a great deal of influence on the next car they choose. This drops to just (46%) for those between 50 and 66.

According to recent data produced by the 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study, its safety technologies such as back-up cameras, blind spot warning systems and pedestrian sensors that have seen the most interest in the past year, compared to entertainment and connectivity technologies.  For those new car buyers interested in entertainment and connectivity technologies, 24% state that they would consider the option of docking their smart phone in their vehicle compared to just 14% who would consider having their entertainment applications built-in.

So What?

"The data shows that consumers generally favor the safety and entertainment they find with in-car connectivity, but they don't want to give up their privacy by sharing detailed information about their driving habits with companies that may stand to benefit from the information," said Mike Chadsey, Vice President, Automotive Solutions Consultant, Harris Interactive. "In addition, the fear of technology distraction seems to outweigh the other perceived benefits of having in-car connectivity options. Car makers should take note; depending on the generation of their target market, in-car connectivity can have influence on the buying decision, but too much of a good thing may just be too much. Ultimately, when it comes to marrying technology with their car, consumers want it to be both safe and in a way that they can control.  Americans may be addicted to their technology but they also love the freedom represented by their automobile and are not ready to have anything interfere with their driving experience."

More insights and trends on consumer preferences for over 60 advanced automotive technologies can be found in the 2012 Harris Poll AutoTECHCAST(SM) study. Among an array of topics, the study evaluates distracted driving habits, preferences for mobile applications within the connected car of the future, and the perceptions of time needed to offset premiums of alternative powertrain technologies. To learn more about the 2012 AutoTECHCAST(SM) study, which is available now, please visit: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/Products/AutoTECHCASTUS.aspx

TABLE 1
CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS FOR CARS

"Today, many vehicles manufacturers offer many connectivity options for their vehicles. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about having these technologies in your vehicles?"

Base: Own or lease a vehicle


AGREE (NET)

Strongly agree

Somewhat agree

DISAGREE

(NET)

Somewhat

Disagree

Strongly

disagree

Not at all sure

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I think these technologies can cause too much distraction and are dangerous to have

76

41

36

20

14

6

4

I worry about letting companies know too much about where I am and how I drive

62

30

32

32

21

11

6

I consider my car a haven from the outside world and do not want to always be connected

61

25

36

34

22

12

5

These technologies make driving more enjoyable

58

19

39

35

23

12

7

I feel safer having these technologies in my vehicle

57

16

41

36

24

12

7

Auto makers have gone too far with all this technology in cars

55

22

33

40

24

16

5

I think it is important to stay connected when in my vehicle

47

16

32

49

30

19

4

I believe my insurance rates could increase because they will know my driving habits

41

15

26

48

26

22

11

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 2
CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS FOR CARS – by generation and gender

"Today, many vehicles manufacturers offer many connectivity options for their vehicles. How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements about having these technologies in your vehicles?"
Percentage saying "Strongly/Somewhat Agree"

Base: Own or lease a vehicle


Total

Generation

Gender

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-49)

Baby

Boomers

(50-66)

Matures

(67+)

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

I think these technologies can cause too much distraction and are dangerous to have

76

71

77

78

79

75

77

I worry about letting companies know too much about where I am and how I drive

62

63

62

64

56

65

59

I consider my car a haven from the outside world and do not want to always be connected

61

59

58

65

61

60

62

These technologies make driving more enjoyable

58

69

64

49

48

64

53

I feel safer having these technologies in my vehicle

57

63

61

53

53

61

54

Auto makers have gone too far with all this technology in cars

55

51

51

60

58

54

56

I think it is important to stay connected when in my vehicle

47

58

48

39

45

50

45

I believe my insurance rates could increase because they will know my driving habits

41

46

40

41

31

46

36

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

TABLE 3
AVAILABILITY OF IN VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY ON NEXT CAR PURCHASE

"How much of an influence would the availability of in-vehicle technology features have on the car brands you will consider for your next purchase?"

Base: Owns or leases a vehicle


Total

Generation

Gender

Echo

Boomers

(18-35)

Gen X

(36-49)

Baby

Boomers

(50-66)

Matures

(67+)

Men

Women

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

It would have a great deal of influence

10

11

12

8

10

12

8

It would have some influence

48

56

51

38

47

50

45

It would have no influence

42

33

37

54

43

38

47

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding.

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between May 7 to 16, 2012 among 2,634 adults (aged 18 and over), of whom 1,991 currently own or lease a vehicle. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

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Q855, 860, 865, 885

The Harris Poll® #49, August 1, 2012

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom and multi-client market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers proprietary solutions in the areas of market and customer insight, corporate brand and reputation strategy, and marketing, advertising, public relations and communications research. Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including health care, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Additionally, Harris has a portfolio of multi-client offerings that complement our custom solutions while maximizing our client's research investment.  Serving clients in more than 215 countries and territories through our North American and European offices and a network of global partners, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us - and our clients - stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contacts:
Corporate Communications
Harris Interactive
212-539-9600
press@harrisinteractive.net 

SOURCE Harris Interactive



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