We asked 400 US auto consumers, and they're not as excited about electric cars as you may think

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As the auto industry heats up with new feature innovation and an emphasis on electric (BMW, Mercedes, Porsche, and Volvo have all announced electric cars coming in 2020 and 2021) we wanted to learn more about consumer’s purchasing behaviors and their preferences towards different car brands and car features. To do so, we ran a MaxDiff study with more than 400 US consumers, tracking 24 different auto features to understand where brands should focus their marketing efforts in the year ahead.


Key findings from quantilope’s auto MaxDiff study include:


Safety First - Both men and women both agree on the importance of safety features. When given a list of 24 car features, both genders selected 'automatic emergency braking,' ‘blindspot monitoring,' and ‘4/all-wheel drive’ in their top five features. Women also indicated ‘all-season tires’ as important, while men swapped it for ‘data security and privacy.' All age groups also placed emphasis on safety, with GenX and Millennials sharing the same top 5 features (‘automatic emergency brakes,’ ‘anti-collision warning,’ ‘blindspot monitoring,' ‘all-season tires,' and ‘4/all wheel drive’) but in a slightly different order. GenZ shared 4 of these top 5 features but swapped ‘4/all-wheel drive’ for ‘parking cameras.'


Who Needs Heat - Men selected ‘heated steering wheel’ as the least important feature, while women had it second to last. Additionally, it ranked last amongst the three-generational age groups.


Keep Dreaming Elon - Despite the buzz surrounding Tesla, ‘fully electric’ ranked second to last amongst the total sample frame. GenZ was slightly less polarizing on this feature, but still had a negative MaxDiff score (-11.6), compared to Millennials (-33.5) and GenX (-34.4).


Nice to Haves - While not in the top 5 features, ‘parking cameras’, ‘data security’, ‘large trunk space’, ‘lane keep assist’, and ‘adaptive cruise control’ all have positive MaxDiff scores for consideration.


What can auto brands learn? Auto-manufacturers should ensure advertising claims focus on the safety features of a car, rather than speed, interior luxuries, or motor type.


Despite placing little importance on ‘fully electric’ as a car feature, Tesla was the most mentioned car brand listed by GenZ’s when asked what car they would buy if money were no object (16.3% unaided open-end response). This indicates that consumers may be more interested in the Tesla brand than the electric car category itself.

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