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2010 US Consumers’ Attitudes and Perceptions of Vehicle Safety

  • January 2014
  • -
  • Frost & Sullivan
  • -
  • 145 pages


Table of Contents

Desirability and Willingness to Pay for Safety Systems

The primary aim of this study is to understand the driving environments and behaviors; to evaluate consumer perception, satisfaction, purchase influences, and preferences; and to assess their willingness to pay for safety features. Overall, when purchasing a new vehicle, vehicle owners place highest importance on reliability and safety. The majority of respondents would allocate additional funds to safety features protecting occupants of the vehicle during an accident. Moreover, they like the idea of a vehicle’s safety systems taking control over driving operations in emergency situations but they would prefer automatic control with override. Overall, warning occurrences are the most important part of safety technologies.

Research Objectives

Consumer Profile and Segmentation
• Consumer profile by gender, age, family status, vehicle segment
• Attitude towards safety
• Segmentation based on safety attitude and perceptions

Driving Environment and Driving Behavior
• Driving environment: Urban, suburban, city, highway
• Vehicle occupancy: Driving alone, with passenger(s)
• Driving style and collision vulnerability: Aggressive/defensive; front, rear, side collision vulnerability

Consumer Perception and Satisfaction
• Importance of safety in vehicle purchase decision
• Awareness about safety technologies and systems
• Satisfaction with overall safety performance of current vehicle
• Satisfaction with safety performance by system type/feature

Purchase Influences and Preferences
• Purchase influences: 5-star crash ratings, others
• Importance of safety features by system type and feature
• System Interface preferences (input/output modes)
• Purchase priorities by safety features/system

Purchase Likelihood and Willingness to Pay for Safety
• Safety feature purchase likelihood by system type
• Purchase preferences: standard or optional
• Willingness to pay for safety features/systems by system type
• Optimal package of safety features by vehicle segment
• Estimated take rate of safety features/systems

Key Differences by Demographics and Past Studies
• Differences by vehicle segments
• Differences by other key demographics
• Differences from past studies


Methodology: Online Panel-based Survey of Vehicle Owners
To conduct this proposed research, we used an online, panel-based survey. This allowed us to provide images and other stimuli to test consumer perceptions of the issues associated with advanced safety features and technologies, including user interface and Input/output features. Furthermore, research conducted by Frost & Sullivan using this approach has proven the high level of quality in data collected versus CATI or on street intercept surveys. We used panels that are used for market research purposes; therefore, panel quality is maintained.

Benefits of Online Panel-based Surveys
• Benefits of online panel:
oProvide improved and more effective screening capabilities
oRespondents are typically provided with incentives and, even if screened out, consumers receive points so are more willing to answer honestly
oAllows questionnaires to include improved and advanced skip/branch logic and stimuli
oResponses not left open to individual interpretation (i.e., by the interviewer)
oFaster data collection times as invitations are sent in parallel
oGenerally more cost-effective than CATI or on-street intercept surveys

Key Issues Covered
Based on client discussions and feedback, past studies, and Frost & Sullivan’s vehicle safety analysts, the study captured:
• Consumer attitude towards safety and segmentation based on safety attitudes
• Driving environment and driving behavior
• Awareness about advanced safety technologies and systems
• Satisfaction with safety of current vehicle
• Importance of safety in vehicle purchase decision and purchase influences
• Importance of safety features by active system type and purchase priorities
• Determination of driver’s interaction with safety systems and user interface preferences
• Willingness of driver to be monitored
• Safety feature purchase likelihood and willingness to pay for safety features
• Key differences by vehicle segments and other key demographics

Sample Size and Respondent Qualification

• Total sample of X respondents
• Respondent qualification was a minimum of X-years-old
• Own or lease a new car purchased within the past X years and/or expecting to buy a new car in 2 years
• Must reside in the United States

Executive Summary

During everyday driving, vehicle owners typically display behaviors of drinking beverages (X%), eating (X%), and using their cell phones without a hands-free system (X%). All of these behaviors can be distracting and may lead to unsafe driving conditions.
When considering purchasing a new vehicle, vehicle owners placed the highest importance on reliability (X%), followed closely by safety (X%). In particular, females were more concerned with safety, reliability, and environmental impact while males were more design, style, and performance oriented.
Respondents identified the most stressful driving conditions as driving in snow or ice (X% very/somewhat stressful) and when someone brakes unexpectedly or very quickly in front of you (X% very/somewhat stressful). Females tended to show higher levels of stress in most driving situations.
If given additional money for safety features, the significant majority of respondents would elect to allocate this spending towards protecting occupants (driver and passengers) during a crash or rollover. This was particularly true among respondents with families. Protecting occupants during a crash received a #1 ranking of % vs. % for enhancing the vehicle’s stability.
When emergency driving situations suddenly occur, a vehicle’s safety systems can take control over the driving operations. Respondents like this idea; however, they prefer automatic control with override. During impending unsafe driving conditions, such as an obstacle in the road or a vehicle in a blind spot during a lane change, vehicle owners prefer to be warned via audio and visual warnings.
Many safety systems features are available and present in vehicles today, ranging from airbags and seatbelts to night vision and traffic sign recognition. Among the most familiar are side-impact and curtain airbags (X% and X%, respectively, with some level of familiarity). Given the high levels of familiarity, it is not surprising that many vehicle owners would not purchase a vehicle if airbags were absent (X% for side-impact airbags and X% for curtain airbags).
Warning occurrences are perhaps the most important part of safety technologies. Interestingly, vehicle owners experience a similar level of frustration if receiving a false warning (false positive) to not being warned (false negative) during a genuinely unsafe situation (X% and X% very/somewhat agree). Females, and as age increases, become more likely to get upset if a safety warning system malfunctions.
The purchase of safety options is largely driven by protecting the driver and passengers during a crash or rollover, although significantly more importance is placed on protecting the driver. Sixty-nine percent of respondents mentioned themselves as the most important, followed by % for “me and my family.” Females are significantly more likely to think about the protection of the family than males.
Of vehicle owners, X% look to many different resources for researching vehicles and safety features. The majority, in particular women and those with children, place the highest trust in the evaluations of Consumer Reports’ good safety ratings. Nearly out of report they would be likely to purchase a vehicle if it receives a high Consumer Reports safety rating, as opposed to only X% for the nearest competitor.
A MaxDiff analysis was conducted to show the preferences for various safety technologies. Across all safety technologies surveyed, airbags are deemed the most important. Side-impact airbags for front and rear seats received an 18% vote for “most important” while curtain airbags for front and rear seats received 9%.
Analysis by vehicle segment showed little difference among the top “most important” safety technologies. Airbags were at the top with blind spot detection systems usually coming in third place. Although no significant differences were noted, a few minor exceptions were observed. The luxury vehicle segments placed lower importance on curtain airbags for rear seats and active seatbelts. Instead, they preferred technologies such as night vision and forward collision warning.

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