Concept Cars Help Consumers Channel Their Inner Connectivity

January 31, 2012
NS4 Advanced Plug-In Hybrid Concept
How do you design a car for Gen Y? Snap a smartphone onto four wheels.
OK, there isn’t an actual app like that. But Toyota recently unveiled two concept cars that come close.
There’s the NS4, an advanced plug-in hybrid concept vehicle introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Then there’s the Fun-Vii, a portable palette revealed at the Tokyo Motor Show.
“In this digital age, cars are becoming another spoke in the wheel of our electronic connectivity,” Toyota Motor Sales President Jim Lentz said at the Detroit auto show earlier this month.
A new survey of Gen Y consumers backs that belief. In-dash technology is the most important part of a vehicle’s interior for 59 percent of survey respondents, with 73 percent seeking touchscreen interfaces. Smartphone applications are highly desired by 72 percent.
“Gen Y consumers clearly view their automobiles as more than just a way to get from point A to point B,” says Joe Vitale, global automotive leader at Deloitte, which released the annual survey Jan. 18. “They see them as a way to stay connected around the clock, and they’re willing to pay for it.”
In fact, he says, they’re willing to spend more than $3,000 for hardware that delivers connectivity.
That’s an impressive figure, given that Deloitte predicts one out of four new automobiles sold this year in the United States – and 40 percent of vehicles sold in the next 10 years – will be bought by Gen Y consumers between the ages of 19 and 31.
The NS4 and Fun-Vii are only concepts today, but they’re the kind of vehicles that could attract those buyers down the road.
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