Ford Car Buying Trends 2015 shows increasing demand for semi-autonomous driving technologies in Europe
European drivers are showing an increasing appetite for semi-autonomous driving technologies, according to a new Ford Motor Company study on buying trends in Europe. Ford Car Buying Trends 2015, a study of new car buying habits in 22 countries across Europe, highlights regional trends and national differences.
The study shows significant increases in the number of cars with technologies that help drivers to park, avoid collisions, and maintain set speeds and distances from vehicles ahead. Among the results:
Active Park Assist uses sensors and the vehicle’s steering system to help drivers find a suitable space and steer in to it. The system was fitted to more than 1 in 3 (34%) Ford cars in Europe, up from 28% compared with the previous year. In Switzerland this was almost 3 in 4 (72%), followed by the Netherlands (62%), and Spain (61%).
Active City Stop can help reduce the severity of rear-end collisions by automatically applying braking if a driver does not react in time to slowing traffic ahead. In the past year more than 1 in 8 (13%) cars produced were equipped with the system, up from 7% compared with the previous year. The technology was most popular in Sweden (59%), then Norway (58%), and Switzerland (41%).
Adaptive Cruise Control enables drivers to maintain a set distance from the vehicle in front, even if the vehicle is travelling at a slower speed. In the past year more than half of new Ford cars in Europe were equipped with some kind of cruise control technology, rising from 48% to 52%. Turkey led with 86%, ahead of Finland (84%), and Sweden (80%).
Lane Keeping Aid detects an unintentional lane departure and applies steering torque, alerting drivers to direct the vehicle back into. In the past year, 51% of cars sold in Sweden were equipped with the technology, ahead of Norway (28%) and Switzerland (21%). Throughout Europe the number of vehicles sold with Lane Keeping Aid rose by 20%.
While manufacturers including Ford are working toward autonomous vehicles, our customers are already embracing many of the smart technologies that make driving and parking easier and safer. We are seeing increasing demand for features that relieve the stresses of driving, and make it more enjoyable – for example, people have very quickly become accustomed to systems that help them to find a suitable parking space and reverse into it.—Roelant de Waard, vice president, Marketing, Sales and Service, Ford of Europe
From first being introduced in Europe in 2012, Ford’s voice-activated connected systems have quickly found their way into most new cars. Last year, 78% of all Ford vehicles were equipped with SYNC systems—up by 10% year‑over-year compared with the previous year.gasoline
SYNC 2 can enable drivers to talk to their car using simple, conversational language to operate phone, entertainment, climate and navigation systems, even bringing up a list of local restaurants by saying: “I’m hungry”.
Powertrains. The overwhelming majority (98%) still chose gasoline and diesel models.Gasoline was the fuel of choice for 56% of European drivers and nowhere was that more the case than in Russia, where customers chose 96% gasoline-powered cars, followed by the Netherlands (87%) and the Czech Republic (83%).
In the past year, more customers in Ireland went for diesel-powered cars (70%) than anywhere else, followed by Turkey and Romania (both 65%).
Preferences for manual versus automatic gearboxes compared with the previous year were almost unchanged. Drivers in all European countries still preferred a manual over an automatic—83% chose a car with a manual gear stick. In Greece that rose to 97%, and in Ireland to 96%, followed by Poland (95%).
Body styles. Most customers in the past year chose a 5-door car (52%), ahead of wagon versions (37%), with both claiming share from 4-door models (11%) compared with the previous year.
The practical wagon body-styles for the Mondeo and Focus appealed to drivers most in Denmark (84%), Germany (81%), and the Netherlands (78%). For the same cars, 5-door versions were most likely to find a home in Greece (96%), Spain (87%) and Britain (83%); while 4-door versions were most popular in Turkey (87%).