New car buyers care more about Google Maps than brand of vehicle

Almost 90 percent of new car buyers rank navigation services as the most important feature

New car buyers care more about Google Maps than brand of vehicle
(Image credit: Google)

Merely a generation on from grappling with paper maps to find our way, some 87-percent of today’s new car buyers rank the vehicle’s navigation system as the most important digital feature.

This statistic comes from Bitkom research, which surveyed 1,003 people in Germany about what they considered to be the most important criteria when buying a new car. Unsurprisingly, safety came out on top, with this being the number-one concern for 98-percent of buyers.

Safety was followed by comfort, price and environmental credentials, but right after these more traditional criteria came the car’s navigation services. A good navigation system was ranked more highly than driver assistance systems like parking assist and traffic jam assist, and it also came ahead of whether the car is powered by internal combustion or electricity.

Smartphone integration is also a highly-ranked feature for new car buyers, with 69-percent of respondents saying they want to use their phone with the infotainment system.

This is of course good news for Apple and Google, whose respective CarPlay and Android Auto systems have been quickly adopted by almost all car manufacturers. Google is taking things further with its Android Automotive system, which debuted on the Polestar 2 and includes native access to the Google Assistant, Play Store, Google Maps and Spotify.

It will now be interesting to see whether car manufacturers continue to develop their own infotainment systems, when it seems that drivers would rather plug in their phone and use CarPlay or Android Auto instead.

As for internet access, the survey found just over half (58-percent) of respondents considered it to be an important factor, again suggesting that they would rather use their phone and its connection instead of the car’s own services. Just over a third (37-percent) of respondents are already ranking autonomous driving as an important feature when buying a new vehicle.

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Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.