Connected Cars Still A Mystery To Many Consumers


While the radio industry grapples with what it should be doing about the connected car, there may be some comfort in knowing consumers are still a bit baffled by the connected car as well. Nielsen’s new AutoTECHCAST report shows that nearly one-third of consumers have never heard of these technology-enabled vehicles. “These consumers don’t know what connected cars do, and are not associating vehicle brands with infotainment badging.”

“Consumers are becoming more interested in advanced automotive technologies than ever before and are increasingly factoring these technologies into their purchasing decisions,” explained Mike VanNieuwkuyk, vice president, Nielsen Automotive. “Manufacturers need to continue to educate auto shoppers about the technologies that appeal to their personal interests and desires in order to distinguish their products from competitive options and build stronger brand loyalty with these tech-savvy consumers.”

Currently, 28% of Americans say they know what connected cars do, while another 41% have heard of them but don’t know what they do. That leaves about one-third (31%) of U.S. automotive consumers who are completely unaware of connected cars. In the most recent survey, one in five Americans reported being very/extremely interested in owning a connected car (21% vs. 19% last year). Nearly one-third (27%) say they’re not interested at all, but that’s a decrease from 31% last year.

Nielsen AutoTECHCAST is an annual multi-client study platform to collect and analyze consumer insights on advanced automotive technologies and features. The 2016 study includes 44 technologies: 11,886 U.S. consumers completed the 2016 study and data were collected between March 22, 2016 and April 27, 2016. Data are weighted by demographics and a propensity score to ensure that respondents are representative of the total in-market vehicle-buying population. Technology-specific data include familiarity, consideration (with and without market price known), differentiation, benefits, tech-word association, and in-depth analysis of the consumers’ opinions and preferences concerning the usability and functionality of each technology.

You can download the Nielsen AutoTECHCAST Report HERE


  1. My connected car has HD AM/FM in addition to Sirius/Pandora/iHeartRadio/iPhone Integration – I still listen to broadcast radio when there is something interesting to listen to on broadcast. What radio does best, what network apps can never do, and what we have lost in this age of robotic stations is LOCAL content. WGN/AM is doing famously well by being a LOCAL station, where “LOCAL” is much of the Midwest. And they pay their people well. Emulate WGN and you will not be worrying about declining listeners.

  2. Solution: Make radio so appealing that audiences will insist on easy access. That might, however, take a mess o’ imagination and effort.

  3. It sounds like an argument of “radio will survive because consumers are not smart enough or too lazy to figure out new tech”. Is THAT what the industry is banking future viability on???

    Many years ago I remember people saying that the typewriter would continue strong forever because it was simpler and cheaper that those newfangled expensive and confusing computers. How did that one work out?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here