How car subscription could become more popular than car buying: Explained

In-car subscriptions not preferred by new car buyers

In a recent survey conducted by AutoPacific, new car buyers are not preferring in-car subscriptions. Meanwhile, automakers are pushing in-car subscriptions to generate revenue from the features. The idea of having various subscriptions has not been adopted by all automakers but is being considered largely. That’s the case with high-tech features included in the new models.

How car subscription could become more popular than car buying: Explained
Image credits- Times of India

AutoPacific conducted a survey with potential car buyers and inquired about their interest in eleven different in-car connected features. The survey began with a hypothetical $15/month data plan for the car. The results of the survey suggest that investors pushing car companies to invest in these features may need to reconsider. The most popular feature was an internet connection with a Wi-Fi hotspot, which seems like a reasonable request for a monthly fee of $15. However, only 30% of potential car buyers were interested in paying for their car’s internet access.

AutoPacific conducted a breakdown of the data based on buyers’ preferences for internal combustion engine vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, or battery EVs. The survey found that 37% of PHEV buyers expressed interest in in-car internet, while the number dropped to 32% for BEV buyers and 28% for fossil fuel-powered vehicle buyers.


Robby DeGraff, an analyst for product and consumer insights at AutoPacific, explained that the higher demand for in-car internet comes from EV owners needing to spend more downtime in their vehicles due to longer charging times. “While an EV’s battery takes significantly longer to recharge than refueling an ICE vehicle, the cabin’s center infotainment screen is an ideal place for the driver to stay occupied while the vehicle is parked,” he added. In comparison to in-car Wi-Fi, the other features surveyed by AutoPacific scored lower in terms of overall interest. For instance, only 23% of buyers expressed interest in remotely controlling some vehicle functions via a smartphone, even if it required an additional $10 per month.

Here, too, there was a powertrain split—only 8 percent of ICE buyers would like to buy things via infotainment screen, but that rose to 13 percent of PHEV buyers and 15 percent of BEV intenders. AutoPacific also broke down some of its data by age brackets. The 30- the to 39-year-old group was consistently the most interested in connected subscription features for their cars—28 percent want to stream video directly to the infotainment screen, 20 percent want to play video games on the infotainment screen, and 18 percent want in-car video conferencing. As you might expect, the 60- to 69-year-old bracket was the least interested in any of this stuff; just 10 percent would want in-car video streaming, with video conferencing at 5 percent and in-car gaming at just 4 percent.