Brand loyalty carries to autocars
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Autonomous cars are coming, so we're told by vehicle manufacturers, the government and automotive industry insiders.
But when they do eventually become the norm, which ones will we buy?
Auto Trader UK research found people in Britain would prefer a vehicle made by established manufacturers such as Ford and Audi — or from a firm known for its cars, like Tesla — over brands not associated with motoring, including Apple, Amazon and Google.
The country's biggest online marketplace for used cars surveyed 5500 UK motorists about their future buying thoughts to understand which carmakers will be in demand.
Although a high number of motorists admitted they were not currently interested in fully-automated vehicles, they did give an impression of which dealership they'll be using to order their driverless cars.
Just one in five said they would definitely buy a driverless car in the coming years, although acceptance of autonomous vehicles is expected to improve as the technology nears mainstream levels.
Regardless of their opinion about potentially buying one, the motorists were asked which brand they would choose in the eventuality of having to own one.
Of the top 10 most chosen, only Google infiltrated the list of car maker brands. Ford, Audi and electric car specialist Tesla came out on top. BMW, Volkswagen, Honda and Toyota followed.
Apple, Amazon and Uber made it into the top 15, however.
Drivers were then asked to rank the reasons they selected their favoured brand with the options being: brand trust; brand image; past positive experience; perceived technology; perceived safety; and affordability.
VW CEO Matthias Mueller with autonomous concept car Sedric. Photo / AP
The results showed that the four most-voted-for carmakers were selected for different reasons.
The highest factor for top-placed Ford was positive experiences and Audi and Mercedes-Benz won people over based on the trust they'd developed in the luxury brands.
Telsa was the third highest choice, with a 92 per cent rating for perceived technology.
Only Apple scored higher on that factor — 97 per cent — but was just the 11th most-chosen brand among motorists.
Uber and Amazon propped up the table, while Apple and Google mixed it among traditional car brands.
Jon Quirk, editor at Auto Trader, said motorists' opinion on driverless cars was “polarised”.
“Auto Trader’s Market Report shares some good news for car manufacturers, with nine carmakers featuring in the top 10 brands motorist’s find most appealing today when considering driverless cars,” he said.
“There will be plenty of collaboration between carmakers and tech companies on autonomous cars in the future, but it’s clear that when it comes to choosing a brand that motorists find most appealing for autonomous cars today, positive past experiences, perceived technology and trust in the brand are some of the most important factors to consider.
“Car manufacturers have a clear headstart against tech companies here as they’ve delivered tried and tested on-road products and established trust in their brands in the process.”