Aldo Agostinelli

According to data published by Statista, in the United States the market of partially self-driven cars should reach an overall worth of  36 billion dollars by 2025, while the one of fully self-driven should be worth 6 billion dollars by the same date. Such figures, if put together with the information published by the  Passenger Cars Report 2017 with reference to the sales forecast concerning the automotive industry, portray a positive scenario. The three main markets of reference – US, Europe and China – by 2021 should reach respectively a total of 15.2 million units, 16 million units and 28.7 million units. Read it in Italian.

And advertisers are in a frenzy. Why? The car passenger compartment is, at the moment, still an advertisingfree zone. But things may change very soon. Indeed,  wireless connections, last generation software and several sensors can collect a huge quantity of data concerning different aspects of our driving habits, and not only: it would be enough to allow cars manufacturers to collect such data and sell them to third parties ( brands, service providers, advertising agencies etc.  ) to turn cars into hyper efficient, multi-faceted marketing tools.

In the United States the  Federal Trade Commission is the official body dealing with the protection of consumers’ data and privacy . However, there are no specific laws and regulations concerning the automotive industry. So, manufacturers are trying to understand to which extent the above mentioned data may be used in the near future.
Actually, the real obstacle is still the users’ willingness to approve of the use of their personal data, but, once the first firm denial will have been overcome, experts are convinced that drivers will be quite easily convinced by offering them some financial benefits or some extras security measures. And their vision appears to be quite realistic since a recent survey Ipsos entitled “What The Future“ revealed that 49% of the interviewees  could be interested in being updated, while in their cars, about special offers, bargains and sales organized by stores in which they shopped in the past, and 27% find this service particularly useful if referred to restaurants.

Strategies to lure consumers may be various: a relevant discount on insurance policies, a coupon for fuel, special vouchers, a free mechanical check up. Basically, targeted proposals which may attract and convince drivers (Pop-up ads in your car? It could be the next big thing)

To the point that Telenav, a company headquartered in the Silicon Valley specializing in the development of high tech solutions for the automotive industry, is currently testing some pop-up announcements displayed by their infotainment screen, proposing cars owners a sort of freemium service similar to the ones used by the music industry, aimed at convincing drivers to share their data. The “barter” system proposed is as follows: the car manufacturer will install some luxury accessories into cars, such as an integrated GPS or the possibility to start the car engine automatically through a dedicated app; in exchange, car owners will accept the fact that their onboard touch screen  may, from time to time, display some ads. General Motors, instead, last December sent a software update to millions of vehicles introducing an e-commerce system which allows drivers to order coffee or reserve tables at their favourite restaurants while driving.
The future seems to be set. Let’s hope it is at least advantageous!

Would you accept to receive some ads on your car touch screen in exchange for special offers and benefits?  I’d like to read your comments. Tweet @agostinellialdo.

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Aldo Agostinelli