210 Million Connected Cars by 2016

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011
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LONDON — The installed base of embedded and hybrid connected car systems is expected to grow from 45 million at the end of 2011 to 210 million by 2016. Many different flavors of connected car implementations contribute to this trend:

  • Fully embedded OEM systems such as GM’s Onstar and BMW’s Connected Drive
  • Embedded aftermarket solutions for vehicle tracking, road user charging and insurance
  • Factory-installed hybrid systems such as Ford SYNC
  • Hybrid aftermarket solutions from Pioneer and Kenwood offering Pandora Internet radio via smartphone integration

ABI Research practice director Dominique Bonte comments: “The prospects for the connected car look good, with growing interest from a range of stakeholders.”

  • After repeated delays Brazil’s stolen vehicle regulation and Europe’s and Russia’s eCall mandates are now clearing the last hurdles towards implementation.
  • Many governments across the globe are looking at road user charging systems to more fairly tax their citizens while at the same time managing congested roads.
  • Insurance companies are showing real interest in car connectivity in an attempt to rationalize and differentiate their industry.
  • Car manufacturers are keen to implement predictive maintenance and use connectivity as a communication channel with the end user. Other examples include car sharing initiatives with ZIPCAR’s imminent IPO and BMW’s and Sixt AG DriveNow joint venture.

User interest is mainly driven by connected infotainment, which is gaining momentum as illustrated by Toyota’s Entune, and Audi’s and TomTom’s connected in-dash navigation solutions. In-car Wi-Fi networks allow passengers to continue using their connected portable devices. For electric car owners connectivity simply is a must, to keep track of the battery charging status.

Bonte notes, “Car manufacturers not yet offering connected services increasingly look out of touch with reality. Most are working hard on solutions to be launched in the near future. However some, locked in the conservative, anachronistic attitudes still prevalent in large parts of the automotive industry, still struggle to find the right business model and technology platform and hesitate to embrace openness and wide-ranging industry cooperation.”

ABI Research’s new “Connected Car Market Data” provides detailed forecasts of embedded, hybrid, and converged connectivity solutions including subscribers, service revenue, and hardware shipments and revenues.

It is part of the recently launched Connected Car Research Service.