Johnson Controls Research Confirms Consumers Want a Connected Car

New study indicates connectivity and safety features top list in consumer preference

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Vehicle owners1 responding to a recent online survey conducted for Johnson Controls by Harris Interactive indicate they want to use their phones and existing apps to safely connect in their vehicles. Consumers want this process to be simple to use and for it to be convenient to download apps from traditional channels. Johnson Controls, a leader in automotive interiors and electronics, will utilize the data to influence design and new product development of its future infotainment products.

“Through this research study, we gain important insight into the needs and wants of consumers as they seek to connect seamlessly and intuitively to their vehicles,” said Paul Lambert, group vice president and general manager, Electronics, Johnson Controls Electronics & Interiors. “This information is helping us to provide market-leading infotainment solutions that take into account ever-increasing consumer electronics functionality without sacrificing safety.”

Some of the key findings from the study of more than 2,100 U.S. adults include:

  • Interest in greater connectivity via one’s vehicle is high. 84% of vehicle owners1 would like to control the features in their vehicle via a touch-screen infotainment system; 83% want to get updates to vehicle infotainment systems delivered wirelessly; 76% would like to connect to the Internet using their vehicle as a Wi-Fi hotspot; 67% would like to download applications directly to their vehicle; and, 61% would like to pay for something using a debit or credit card linked to the infotainment system in their vehicle.2
  • Safety is the single most important feature3 in the selection of a vehicle (75%). The delivery of vehicle infotainment safely will be critical to consumer adoption and consumption. The second tier of important features includes vehicle diagnostics (49%) and navigation (42%).4 
  • Smartphone apps most associated with a vehicle include: Maps/navigation = 52%; News = 45%; and, finding locations = 34%.
  • When it comes to downloading smartphone apps to a vehicle via an interactive screen, vehicle owners who use downloaded apps on a weekly basis would prefer traditional channels. 62% have a preference for where they would download an app for their vehicle, and of those with a preference, 60% would prefer downloading from an existing app store (e.g., App Store for iOS, Amazon Appstore for Android), 38% would prefer a new app store for vehicle-specific applications, and 37% would prefer the app maker’s website (e.g., Pandora, Google Maps).
  • When it comes to accessing a vehicle app, vehicle owners who use downloaded apps regularly want apps they know and are comfortable with. Two-thirds (64%) want the menu options in their vehicle to be the same as on their smartphone (i.e., a full list of menu options available).

“This market research validates Johnson Controls’ infotainment approach.  We deliver the latest technology features that consumers demand with an intuitive Human Machine Interface throughout our development process,” said Lambert.

The online survey was conducted December 27-31, 2012 in the United States for Johnson Controls by Harris Interactive among 2,135 adults age 18 and older, of whom: 1,183 own a smartphone; 1,070 use downloaded apps on a weekly basis; and, 1,062 own a smartphone and own/lease a vehicle (i.e., car (small/mid-size/large/luxury), SUV/CUV, pickup, minivan, or hybrid) that they drive on a regular basis. The participants represented a cross-section of car owners, spanning a variety of ages, incomes, lifestyles, and vehicle segments.

The information generated by this study is helping Johnson Controls align its product design and development for future infotainment systems to respond to consumer desires. This week, company officials are announcing at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas that Johnson Controls will provide its first production infotainment system which will launch globally in a 2014 model year vehicle.

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 170,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful. In 2012, Corporate Responsibility Magazine recognized Johnson Controls as the #5 company in its annual “100 Best Corporate Citizens” list. For additional information, please visit

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With 240 locations worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability, we supply approximately 50 million cars per year.

1 U.S. adults ages 18+ who own a smartphone and own or lease a vehicle (i.e., car (small/mid-size/large/luxury), SUV/CUV, pickup, minivan, or hybrid) that they drive on a regular basis (n=1,062)

2 All percentages refer to respondents who indicated their interest in each feature as “Extremely Interested,” “Very Interested,” “Interested,” or “Somewhat Interested” 

3 Among a list of 9 types of features, also including: vehicle diagnostics, navigation, entertainment, communication/ connectivity, information apps, audio apps, concierge/ personal service, and social apps

4 All percentages refer to respondents who indicated the importance of each feature as “Absolutely Essential” or “Very Important”

Debra Lacey

SOURCE Johnson Controls