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CNET users expect cars to be connected

Responses from more than 2,300 CNET users make it clear that 2011 will be the year of the connected car.

Brian Cooley Editor at Large
Brian Cooley is CNET's Editor at large and has been with the brand since 1995. He currently focuses on electrification of vehicles but also follows the big trends in smart home, digital healthcare, 5G, the future of food, and augmented & virtual realities. Cooley is a sought after presenter by brands and their agencies when they want to understand how consumers react to new technologies. He has been a regular featured speaker at CES, Cannes Lions, Advertising Week and the Publicis HealthFront. He was born and raised in Silicon Valley when Apple's campus was mostly apricots.
Expertise Automotive technology, smart home, digital health. Credentials
  • 5G Technician, ETA International
Brian Cooley
BMW has captured top consumer awareness for high tech cars.

The connected car is the next big thing in technology on the road. The latest survey of CNET users makes that clear: when asked which car tech features interest them most when buying a new car, 71 percent chose iPod connectivity, followed closely by in-car Wi-Fi (67 percent) and trailed substantially by satellite radio (49 percent). And there was little difference of opinion between rear-seat video entertainment (33 percent) and AM radio (28 percent).

Fifty-eight percent said having an in-car Wi-Fi hot spot would influence their decision on which car to buy. Users mentioned BMW (14 percent), Mercedes (11 percent), Lexus (10 percent), Ford (8 percent), and Toyota (7 percent) as the carmakers that do high tech the best, though Ford came out on top when in-car Wi-Fi was specifically targeted.

Seventy-four percent of our users said they have no plans to upgrade their car stereo in the next 12 months, which reinforces the idea that consumers today expect cars to come with the tech they need.

Finally, 15 percent of CNET users carry an iPad or other tablet in the car, compared with just 4 percent national average (per Nielsen research).

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