London, UK – A new study from Machina Research, commissioned by Vodafone, has revealed that BMW is the motor manufacturer with the most complete approach to the delivery of connectivity in cars. GM, Ford, Audi and Chrysler complete the top five.
In the study, global automotive manufacturers have been ranked according to the scale and sophistication of their connected car programmes. BMW, with its ConnectedDrive service, tops the list, followed by GM, which has been something of a trailblazer with OnStar. Ford features in third place, courtesy of scale and increasing focus on developing an embedded offering. The all-round sophistication and comparative maturity of their offerings allow Audi and Chrysler to round out the top five.
Overall the ranking looked at a combination of weighted criteria such as which in-car services are available, the openness of the system to developers, as well as the overarching purpose of the connectivity. Mercedes Benz and Tesla lack the volumes of sales to feature at the top of the ranking, but are the two manufacturers for whom connected car services are most central to their overall strategy. Toyota, VW and Honda benefit from their scale and anticipated connected car volumes.
While the concept of the connected car is not a new one, the next two years will see adoption rocket as car manufacturers move to including a mobile connection in an increasing number of new vehicles. As a result drivers are set to benefit from services such as connected navigation, music streaming and in-car WiFi. As a result, getting the connected car strategy right will be critical to future success.
Sponsors of the study, Vodafone, recently announced a new agreement with Volkswagen and Audi in Europe to provide automotive connectivity, starting with new Audi models from 2015 and an embedded SIM chip developed specifically for the automobile industry will feature in new vehicles.
Vodafone Director of Machine to Machine, Erik Brenneis, said: “Consumer interest in connected car applications is growing all the time and is set to revolutionise the way we use our cars – introducing a host of innovative new services. These will range from the predictable, but nonetheless significant, such as full in-car diagnostics systems which detect and diagnose any potential problem before it happens – to the futuristic – allowing drivers to check the status of their home appliances and to switch them off or on.”
“It is this machine to machine communication that is likely to play a central role in the development of automotive industry in the coming years. As well as providing drivers with new and exciting services, vehicle manufacturers also stand to benefit by developing new lines of revenues and help differentiate them in this fiercely competitive marketplace.”
Commenting on the results, Matt Hatton, Director at Machina Research, said: “The emergence of the connected car is a very important development for both the mobile and automotive industries. For mobile companies it is a tremendous new opportunity for connecting another smart device. For automotive manufacturers it provides a new differentiator, an additional revenue opportunity, and creates a channel to build a stronger ongoing relationship with drivers”.
“The range of applications on offer is enormous, from simple remote door unlocking and heating activation, through to emergency calls, navigation, entertainment, and vehicle fault diagnostics, plus many more besides. In this, our inaugural study, we identify those car companies that are best positioned to take advantage of the massive potential of the connected car in all its diversity.”
The full ranking is: BMW, GM, Ford, Audi, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla Toyota, VW and Honda
Machina Research has long been involved in tracking and analysing the development of connected services in vehicles. This study extends that analysis to measure the degree of connectedness of the different automotive OEMs and subsequently rank them. It has identified a set of criteria which characterise the quantitative and qualitative features of the connected car today and in the coming years. These criteria included:
- Percentage of global vehicle car sales with embedded connectivity
- Percentage of global vehicle car sales with embedded LTE connectivity
- Purpose of embedded connectivity (e.g. is it solely for eCall or to provide extended and/or enhanced connectivity for a suite of services)
- Range of services available through the vehicle platform
- ‘Openness’ of the vehicle platform in terms of application development and management
- Levels of integration between the vehicle platform and e.g. mobile applications, other devices, web portal management, and data management
- Availability of in-car Wi-Fi hotspots
- Level of innovation enabled and pursued through connectivity for such areas as driving and ownership
- Membership of organisations such as the Connected Car Consortium, GENIVI, OAA, etc.
With over 25 criteria assessed for each automotive manufacturer and marque, Machina Research applied a weighting to each category according to their importance. Broadly speaking a 40/60 split was applied between quantitative and qualitative criteria. The most important characteristics were considered to be current and future numbers of connected cars, proportion of vehicles connected, and range of services provided.
In several cases the study combines multiple marques under the same group umbrella. For instance, GM and Chevrolet have been combined into a single “GM” entry. Likewise Chrysler is combined with Jeep and Dodge. This is simply because the groups are following consistent strategies, GM with OnStar and Chrysler with uconnect, across the footprint.