JUST how much our lives are ruled by smartphones has been revealed thanks to a survey by Nissan.
Car buyers admit they can like everything about a new model – the styling, price, fuel economy and how it drives – yet will still walk out of the showroom if it won’t connect properly with their mobile phone.
The study was used by Nissan to understand the importance of developing state-of-the-art infotainment systems in crossover models like the Qashqai, Juke and X-Trail.
And it reveals that 28 per cent of new car buyers prioritise car connectivity over other features, such as fuel efficiency.
So 13 per cent wouldn’t buy a car that’s not connected to the internet and 20 per cent would switch to another car brand for better connectivity.
That’s a figure which rises to 41 per cent for drivers who spend more than 20 hours a week in their car.
The research has led to significant investment by Nissan to make sure phones integrate seamlessly – vital as demand for data and downloads expands.
Leading the European team is Patrick Keenan – known within Nissan as ‘the man with 40 phones’.
And he says: “Today’s new cars have a lifecycle of five or six years before a new version is launched, but a mobile phone will only be on the market for less than two years before it’s replaced.
“Keeping cars and phones talking to each other is the crux of my job.”
Keenan’s priority is to ensure that, when it comes to consumer tech, Nissan is always one step ahead of the game.
His team uses a network of industry contacts to predict future trends, as well as ensuring that the latest Nissan dashboard hardware and software works with the vast majority of existing and older handsets.
Based at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, his desk drawers are packed with dozens of phones, which he uses to develop and fine-tune connectivity.
He also makes and receives hundreds of test calls a day while working on future Nissan vehicles.
“My job is to make sure anyone who walks into a Nissan showroom anywhere in Europe doesn’t walk out again because a car they want to buy won’t pair with their phone,” said Keenan.