Car buyers in the premium segment are now more interested in connectivity, content and screens than almost any other factor when looking for a new vehicle, according to BMW board member Pieter Nota.
“The luxury market is very much about technological leadership and innovation, and that’s not only about things like electrification, it’s about connectivity, and we see that it’s becoming either the number-one or number-two purchase criteria for our buyers,” he said.
“Increasingly, people want to bring their digital lives, their digital systems, into the car with them.
“In China, for example, something like WeChat is hugely important, so we have to have that available in our cars.
“In fact, in China, research shows that 60 per cent of customers say that if another vehicle offers better connectivity, they would switch brands because of that.”
Mr Nota also notes that the coming generations of young people who have grown up almost permanently attached to their smartphones will increasingly demand a more digitally connected vehicle.
“It’s not just about having big screens in your vehicle, it’s about the content you can have on those screens and what you can offer that’s so important, in terms of things like the best possible integration of music in your vehicle,” he said.
“And it’s also about the way you can operate the car, which is why we’ve introduced our IPA, the Intelligent Personal Assistant, which uses AI tech to anticipate your questions – it learns the usage habits of the customer – and we’re also building up an ecosystem that answers questions about the car itself.”
Being able to offer over-the-air servicing and upgrades, which Tesla has been doing for some time, is another feature that digital-savvy buyers are increasingly demanding.