By now, everyone knows the dilemma. Whether you're Toyota, Chrysler, or Hummer, there are simply too many cars on dealer lots. At a time when consumers have pulled way back on spending, and loans are tough to acquire, the auto industry finds itself in the quagmire of all quagmires.
But what about consumers who actually want to buy or lease a new car or truck this year? Our Tech Poll indicates that among our rock sample (more than 21,000 responses overall), 12% indicate they're planning to purchase/lease a new vehicle this year.
That's no small number. So what are they looking for, and how can the automakers best market to this critical group?
That's the question we asked, related to features and options in the dashboard entertainment department. So, side airbags and rear-wheel drive aside, here are the key features that consumers find to be most important:
Once you get past the obvious - AM/FM radio and a CD player - the big winner is an iPod connector. Nearly half of our prospective car buyers point to iPod connectivity as a major desire in their next vehicle. And check out what's well down the list - a DVD player, satellite radio, and even HD radio. Yet, how many expensive car ads do you see touting Sirius XM?
The new Kia Soul commercials have the right idea - hamsters driving around, jamming out with their iPods plugged into the dash. For the other car makers, all it takes is being on the ground, researching your consumers, to see what they value in their next car and what moves the needle.
It works in radio.