Chinese consumers are increasingly placing their trust in autonomous technology, which will contribute to a decline in miles driven by privately owned cars, Marco Hecker, Deloitte China’s auto sector leader, told Auto Finance News.
Although consumers still need cars for long trips, traffic congestion in China has declined thanks to government investment in public transit and private investment in ride-hailing services, Hecker said.
Autonomous tech will further drive that trend, but not all providers are equal in the eyes of consumers. Consumers are more confident in the innovation efforts of tech providers than of vehicle manufacturers, according to a June study from Deloitte. Although companies such as Daimler, Audi, BMW, and General Motors are leading AV production among OEMs, according to a Navigant study, Chinese consumers are more trusting of tech companies such as Ali, Tencent, Baidu, and DiDi.
Three-quarters of Chinese consumers said they felt autonomous technology will be safe, up from 34% last year, according to Deloitte’s Global Automotive Consumer Study. However, 53% trust AV-focused companies to bring the technology to market, versus 28% trusting OEMs to do the same.
AV technology is largely driven by advanced algorithms for which tech companies often have the advantage over OEMs, Hecker said. For example, China’s largest mobility service platform DiDi has about 3,500 engineers and data scientists dedicated to developing the tech, he said. However, collaboration is necessary.
“Tech players need the integration and systems engineering expertise [of the OEMs], not to mention the supply chain and manufacturing excellence of OEMs.” Hecker said.
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