If you think the learning curve for your customers regarding technology like GDI, CAN, ABS, EPS, TPMS and VVT was steep, wait until you try to explain the benefits of autonomous vehicle technology, one of which is collision mitigation.
With the exception of Gen Y (those born between 1980 and 1995, also known as millennials), all other generational groups are becoming more skeptical of self-driving technology due to a lack of trust, says a recent J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Tech Choice Study.
In fact, 40% of baby boomers do not see any benefits to self-driving vehicles: “Automated driving is a new and complex concept for many consumers; they’ll have to experience it firsthand to fully understand it,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and HMI research at J.D. Power.
As features like adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and blind-spot warning systems become mainstream, car buyers will gain more confidence in taking their hands off the steering wheel and allowing their vehicles to step in to prevent human error, Kolodge continued.
A few additional findings of the 2017 study include:
• Generation gap for vehicle-controlled functions: Younger consumers are far more comfortable with technologies that assume control of vehicle operating functions. Examples include allowing mobile devices to take control of infotainment systems; an in-vehicle artificial intelligence (AI)-based assistant; and autonomous driving and parking technologies.
• Consumer interest in emergency braking and steering system technology: Upcoming agreements between automakers and the government will require vehicles to have emergency braking — a foundation technology for autonomous driving — as a standard feature within five years. More consumers (31%) are willing to pay $700 for the advanced version of this system (ADAS steering), than those consumers who would pay for less expensive technologies like digital keys at $250; dash camera at $300; and mobile system control at $400.
• Notable convenience exception: Gen Z consumers have a fairly high interest in digital key technology, which eliminates the need for a physical key or key fob and is replaced by a smartphone or smart watch. A total of 40% indicate they definitely would like digital key technology on their next vehicle, and 58% are willing to pay $250 for it, compared with 28% among all consumers.
As technology advances and your service mix continues to evolve, also be mindful of the generational perceptions of these advancements. You could serve as the bridge for consumer acceptance, which will help keep the vehicle pipeline to your shop strong and steady.