USDOT Mobile Data
Photo Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Parks Associates has announced new research showing that 62% of U.S. car owners would prefer to bundle vehicle data charges with their mobile data bill, while only 12% prefer a direct billing relationship with the auto OEM. App Strategies for the Connected Car Industry notes the ubiquity of smartphones may limit consumers’ willingness to pay for an additional connection in the car. As a result, OEMs will have to explore strategies beyond consumer-pay models to fund connectivity costs.

“Vehicle connectivity offers a variety of benefits for auto OEMs, dealers, and consumers,” said Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates. “Auto OEMs gain new insight for product development and support, dealers have an opportunity to expand and deepen their relationships with customers, and consumers enjoy new experiences from vehicle ownership and when driving. All of these benefits derive from the services and applications made possible by connectivity.

Parks Associates notes that connected cars are diffusing beyond luxury drivers to the mass market in North America and Europe. This market shift has forced mobile network operators (MNOs) to add new devices to their networks, with AT&T now supporting an estimated 9.3 million connected vehicles on its North American network as of Q2 2016.

“In-vehicle connectivity has morphed cars into the next great apps platform,” Kent said. “Nearly 60 million light vehicles in the U.S. had a connectivity solution in 2015. Parks Associates projects the U.S. connected vehicle market growing to 183 million cars, or 61% of the light vehicle fleet, by 2021.”

App Strategies for the Connected Car Industry addresses key issues facing the connected car app ecosystem, provides insight on consumer perspectives on connected car apps, and assesses four connected vehicle app strategies. The report also provides a sizing of the current U.S. connected car market and a forecast through 2021. Additional data from the report includes:

  • 64% of car owners in U.S. broadband households who own a smartphone want embedded access to connected car features in their next vehicle.
  • 45% want to access these features through a tethered/mirrored smartphone experience.
  • Just 39% indicate a desire to continue using their smartphone directly, without any connection to the vehicle, for at least one activity.