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Driving Forward

Acxiom Last Updated February 25th, 2020
Driving Forward

The recent 2018 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas featured hundreds of new technological innovations, but arguably none was more prominent than the trend of autonomous vehicles.

During a discussion on self‑driving cars, also referred to as driverless vehicles, the panelists – Lindsey Turrentine, VP and Editor‑in‑Chief at CNET; Daniele Schillaci, Executive Vice-President of Global Marketing and Sales at Nissan; Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan; Tom Wilson, Chairman, CEO and President of Allstate; and Ya-Qin Zhang, President of Baidu, a technology company in China – highlighted safety and opportunity as major reasons for consumers and cities to move toward these driving technologies. Regarding the former, the panelists also pointed out that more than 90% of accidents are due to human errors that driverless cars can substantially reduce.

The opportunity aspect concerns the issue of access to transportation. Individuals who are unable to drive due to disability or age, for example, can remain mobile with driverless vehicles. But the consensus among the panelists was this future is still approximately 10 to 12 years away. So, for today and at least for the next few years, auto manufacturers still need to sell cars driven by people.

Considering that the auto industry (including dealerships) historically accounts for approximately 3 to 3.5 percent of U.S. gross domestic product, it’s critical that we continue to sell and buy cars in the U.S., and knowing consumers is still the key to closing the deal.

New car technology, including electric, and increased interest in leasing versus buying among many segments offer auto manufacturers a unique opportunity in 2018 to retain and win new long-term customers. We analyzed Acxiom’s data to understand the niche group of people who have a strong interest in vehicles and mechanics – also known as car enthusiasts!

We found three types of car enthusiasts, and along the way learned a few things about the trends in leasing and electric as well as people’s general propensities concerning auto purchases. Our data shows there are three basic types of car enthusiasts: pragmatists, hobbyists and trend seekers. Each provides some clues about how people approach car buying, so until the moment when autonomous cars become a reality, this infographic can recommend strategies for incentivizing consumers of each type to sign on the dotted line.