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Consumers not ready to commit to self-driving cars

A passenger in an autonomous car reads a book while travelling

Younger motorists are the most likely to buy self-driving cars in the future, but the majority remain unconvinced by autonomous technology.

According to the findings of the latest Britain Under the Bonnet report from Close Brothers Motor Finance the proportion of UK motorists who said they liked the idea of self-driving cars has tripled in 12 months, with three in ten drivers (31%) saying they were in favour of self-driving cars.

However, Sean Kemple, director of sales, Close Brothers Motor Finance, said that the findings indicated that it still remained the case that few were ready to fully embrace the technology.

He said: “The sci-fi element of driverless cars certainly captures the imagination and is a great point for discussion.

"The huge leaps in technology have also been well documented in the press. However, the current testing that is going on suggests that the reality of driverless cars is still some way off.

"While interest is on the rise, it is telling that just 6% of drivers would actually consider buying one as their next car.

“Nevertheless, it poses some important questions for the future. The courier service industry is already anticipating huge changes, particularly for last mile delivery, and not much further down the line the taxi industry is likely to change too.

"How these industries respond to these changes will be important to observe, and it is essential that dealers keep ahead of the curve and retain a holistic view of the industry.

"This will allow them to make the most informed decisions about the types of cars for their forecourts when the time comes.”

Appetite for driverless cars was strongest amongst younger generations – a clear indication of where the future market would be.

One in seven drivers under 25 (14%) said they wanted to buy a self-driving car as their next car, compared to just 2% of those over 55.

Londoners were the most likely to be in favour of driverless cars (38%), while those in Wales were the least (24%). One in ten (10%) car buyers in London said they would like to buy an autonomous car next.

However, two-thirds (68%) would need to see more evidence that they were safe before they bought one.

More broadly, 38% of drivers said they are not in favour as they would want to be in control of the car, and 35% do not trust the technology.

  • For views and insights into how motor retail will adapt to new technologies and consumer behaviour come to the Automotive Retail Congress on May 21. Click here for more details.

 

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