Chinese Consumers More Trusting of Autonomous Cars Than Westerners, Claims Survey

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【Summary】Automakers and tech companies may be going all in on autonomous vehicles globally, but a recent survey reveals that they’ll find more willing consumers in China than in Europe and the United States.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jan 30, 2020 6:00 AM PT
Chinese Consumers More Trusting of Autonomous Cars Than Westerners, Claims Survey

Autonomous vehicles are already on American roads. Thanks to ride-sharing companies like Waymo and Uber and automakers like Ford, General Motors, Tesla, Nissan, and more, self-driving vehicles and driverless technology have started to appear. More and more companies seem to enter the autonomous realm on a monthly basis. But none of them have really stopped to think if consumers in the U.S. want the technology. Because a recent survey doesn't paint a good picture for autonomous cars in the country.

Western Consumers Don't Trust Autonomous Cars

A recent survey conducted by OC&C Strategy Consultants revealed that Western consumers (those in Europe and in the United States) aren't as interested in autonomous vehicles as Chinese consumers. According to the survey, 72 percent of consumers in China stated that they would trust an autonomous vehicle. Compare that to 66 percent of consumers in America and Europe that claimed they wouldn't trust a self-driving car.

Looking deeper into the findings, 28 percent of Chinese consumers said they would be happy to be one of the first to get behind the wheel of a driverless vehicle. Only 4 percent of Chinese consumers are unlikely to trust autonomous cars. That's a sharp difference compared to U.S. consumers. Forty percent of American consumers stated they didn't trust driverless cars and were unlikely to use one. Only 13 percent claimed they'd like to be one of the first to try the technology.

It's an unfortunate sign for companies and automakers in the U.S., because the majority of consumers (84 percent) see the automobile as an essential way of getting around. If more companies were able to market autonomous vehicles as being safer options, it could sway a lot of consumers.

Electric Vehicles Aren't Popular Either

It's a similar story when it comes to electric vehicles. Chinese consumers are much more likely to consider an electric vehicle over Western ones. In the survey, 92 percent of Chinese consumers stated that they had considered an electrified vehicle before purchasing their most recent car. Only 35 percent of American consumers claimed to do the same thing.

The survey puts things into perspective. A lot of times, we hear about companies and automakers catering electric and autonomous vehicles for China, and now we know why. The country is much more receptive to emerging technology than the U.S. is.

For the U.S., the survey doesn't paint a pretty picture for autonomous and electric vehicles, which is a future that nearly every single automaker is heading toward. By the sound of things, more automakers will have to take the same approach as Mercedes-Benz when the automaker stated that it was taking a "reality check" on robotaxis and autonomous vehicles.

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