Drivers choosing gadgets over safety features
Nearly four times as many new car buyers choose connectivity gadgets over safety upgrades when specifying their vehicle, according to new research from Whatcar.com.
The research, published on 6 April, reveals that six in 10 buyers do not choose to upgrade their new car with any safety features.
Of the safety systems selected, automated emergency braking (AEB) is the most popular, but even then less than 20% of drivers choose it as an option.
In contrast, 64% spend extra cash to set up sat-nav and half of all drivers upgrade to a DAB radio – which Whatcar says comes at a cost similar to the £200 estimated to install AEB.
The research also suggests that comfort and styling also rank higher than safety items for new car buyers, including features like heated seats (60%) and alloy wheels (42%).
Whatcar says ‘despite the nation’s apparent preoccupation with road safety, drivers are shelling out for items like satellite navigation, digital radio and Bluetooth capability rather than safety systems such as lane-keeping assistance and blindspot monitoring’.
Jim Holder, editorial director of Whatcar.com, said: “When it comes to talking about what’s important in a car, most people are vociferous about how vital safety is. However, it seems to be a different matter when new car buyers are sat in front of the salesman.
“British car buyers are clearly going for style over substance.
“It’s beneficial to have creature comforts in your car, especially if you spend a lot of time driving. But it’s quite shocking to think that features which could save people's lives are taking a back seat to having the right sound quality on the radio, especially when those items often cost around the same as the safety options.”