Tech-heavy cars already have drawn criticism for their long driver learning curves. For example, Ford Motor Co. and Lincoln dealers have said that it takes salespeople one to two hours to teach customers how to use the company's MyFord Touch infotainment system.
While the delivery process may take longer, the report noted that those delays may be offset by more responsive and effective maintenance—connected cars may be able to alert customers or service personnel to vehicle issues, allowing appointments to be made in less time and with more information about what's wrong with the vehicle. In addition, software fixes that might have been performed at a dealership eventually could be initiated through the Internet.
The report also notes that manufacturers will have to come up with more innovative and flexible payment models for data services. If auto makers want the extra profit that comes from data subscriptions, they should make it simple for customers to pay, the authors argue. For example, General Motors Co. has hinted that it will offer customers the options of adding OnStar payments as a data plan on their monthly cell phone bill.
"The opportunity for automotive OEMs is at least as much about building a stronger relationship with the customer as it is about generating cash from the connected car," the report states.
Telefonica said car makers will work closely with cell phone companies not only to provide Internet connections but also to understand the emerging connected-car business and its target customers. Employees from auto makers and cellular providers will need to work together to determine solutions for software maintenance, data management, payment methods and the global adaptation of connectivity services.
The report concludes that connectivity won't be an option through which auto makers can woo customers, but rather a requirement. Connectivity will have to be included in future vehicles if auto makers intend to attract younger buyers, who live in a digital environment.
This report appeared on autonews.com, the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.