IT COULD be the best part of a decade before UK car buyers are browsing driverless cars for sale, but research released by Auto Trader reveals that Ford is currently winning hearts and minds with UK motorists interested in a driverless future.
Auto Trader’s Market Report, released earlier this week, unveiled desirability ratings across 15 car manufacturers and tech companies, covering most brands that have shared intentions to deliver fully-autonomous cars. Of the motorists surveyed, 49 per cent indicated they were not interested in a fully-autonomous car, but of those that were; Ford was ranked as the most desirable brand, followed by Audi in second with new car maker Tesla and Mercedes-Benz in joint third.
Reflecting on the report findings, Auto Trader editor-in-chief Jon Quirk said: ‘It’s undeniable that we are headed towards a fully-autonomous future. There is major progress being made by car makers and tech companies, but consumers are also becoming more attuned to owning cars that are more fuel efficient, technologically savvy and better connected, as the car evolves further to meet the demands of modern lifestyles.
‘UK motorists picked Ford due to positive past experiences with the brand, which naturally led them to think positively about its delivery of cars in the future, despite drastic changes to how they will be built and, more importantly, used by motorists in the future.’
By revealing the factors that made each brand desirable to motorists when considering a fully-autonomous future, Auto Trader’s Market Report highlights the top buying considerations for motorists, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each brand competing in the automotive space race in the eyes of motorists today.
Revealingly, car manufacturers are more desirable for motorists when it comes to a fully-autonomous future, with nine of the top 10 most appealing brands being car makers.
Google, which finished ninth in the table, was popular amongst UK motorists based on the ‘perceived technology’ (88 per cent), with fellow tech giant Apple placing just outside the top 10 ranking and finishing even higher for speculated car technology (97 per cent) – notable also for its high levels of ‘trust in the brand’ (91 per cent).
The overwhelming votes of confidence in tech companies delivering high quality technology for driverless cars, partnered with high levels of brand trust with consumers, poses an interesting question for the future; can technology companies compete with car manufacturers by relying on their strengths in other products outside of automotive?
Quirk adds: ‘The fundamental question for UK car buyers is whether they consider a fully-autonomous vehicle a tech product, or a car product. If car buyers naturally think of a driverless car as a technology product, you could argue that continued positive experiences with tech brands through products like phones, computers and online services could play a big role in a consumer’s buying considerations in the future.
‘But we can’t ignore what the research is telling us today; which is that car manufacturers are leading the race through decades of delivering tried and tested on-road products that have created years of positive experiences and trust in these brands in the process.’
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