McKinsey: Consumers Want Connected Cars – And Fear Them, Too

The consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has released an interesting report on the future of connected vehicles. But it has some sobering data for car makers: concerns about privacy and the possibility that connected cars could be hacked are major concerns for consumers that could dampen enthusiasm for smart vehicles.

Advanced cars already have sophisticated connectivity features. But car buyers worry about the danger posed by hackers once cars are connected to the Internet. (Image courtesy of Tesla Motors.)

The report, “What’s Driving the Connected Car?” finds that connectivity features will be a major driver of car sales in the coming years, with car buyers increasingly accustomed to vehicles that sport sophisticated interactive and networking features. That said: security concerns may hamper the “rapid and broad adoption” of connected vehicle technology.

For its report, McKinsey interviewed 2,000 new car buyers in four countries: Brazil, China, Germany and the U.S. The survey found that a quarter of respondents considered connectivity a more important feature than engine power or even fuel efficiency. The firm estimates that connectivity features will become increasingly important selling features for cars, but won’t necessarily provide a way for car makers to extract a premium from car buyers to obtain.

However, car makers also face a considerable hurdle in convincing the buying public to accept connected car technologies. According to McKinsey, 37 percent of respondents to their survey said they “would not even consider a connected car.”

At the root of resistance to connected vehicle technology were ubiquitous fears about vehicles being hacked – which were evident in each country that McKinsey surveyed.

In Germany and Brazil, 59 percent of those surveyed strongly agreed with the statement “I am afraid that people can hack into my car and manipulate it (eg, the braking system) if the car is connected to the Internet.” 53 percent of respondents agreed with that statement in China and 43% in the U.S.

A McKinsey survey of 2,000 people in four countries found an appetite for connected vehicles, but also fears about security and privacy.
A McKinsey survey of 2,000 people in four countries found an appetite for connected vehicles, but also fears about security and privacy.

Privacy concerns were also evident. Fifty one percent of Germans strongly agreed with the statement “I am reluctant to use car-related connected services because I want to keep my privacy.” Forty five percent of U.S. respondents strongly agreed with that statement, compared with 37 percent of Brazilian respondents and 21 percent of respondents in China.

The survey suggests car makers face a tricky task satisfying consumers that both “demand connectivity” but “have security concerns regarding it and are only marginally willing to pay for it.”

Read more via What’s driving the connected car | McKinsey & Company.