Poll: Most experience new automobile technologies for first time in rental cars | FYI | Selective
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7/16/2014 - Poll: Most experience new automobile technologies for first time in rental cars

A large number of Americans are learning about new auto technologies by renting cars.

As it happens, rental cars are more than just vehicles that serve as a replacement when one's own automobile is out of commission. According to a recent poll, a substantial number of Americans experience automotive technologies for the first time in cars that they rent.

Nearly 6 in 10 consumers - 56% - indicated that their initial interaction with car technologies was not in their own vehicle but one that they rented, a recent survey revealed, performed by automotive rental car parent company Enterprise Holdings. And for the most part, after utilizing these new safety devices and gadgetry close to half of respondents said they wanted to have it added to their own car.

"As drivers, we often don't know we need something until we've tried it out for ourselves - then we can't do without it," said Kurt Kohler, senior vice president of remarketing and vehicle acquisition for the Clayton, Mo.-based holdings firm, the parent company for rental services Alamo, Enterprise and National. "Our automotive manufacturing partners have regularly viewed our fleet as a testing ground for new automotive technologies, and this survey reveals that this experience does impact drivers' future purchase decisions."

For the most part, both men and women don't seem to have an issue with a rental car's technology the first time they experience it. Approximately 60% of renters said that they were comfortable with it, even though it wasn't something that they'd utilized before.

Bluetooth often deemed 'must-have' after exposure to it
The poll also looked at what specific technologies men and women tried that they were particularly impressed with. For example, at a rate of 56% to 43%, men were more likely to say that bluetooth technology was a must-have after using it. The same goes for satellite radio; approximately 1 in 6 men became more interested in radio after using it in a rental vehicle versus about 11% among women.

Other technologies that men and women tried for the first time in rental cars were heated and cooled seats, as well as GPS navigation and backup cameras, according to Enterprise Holdings.

Coverage for rental cars is typically included in most standard auto insurance policies, but policyholders can opt to go without it upon request, which may help lower their premiums.

More than anything else, safety-related technologies were deemed the most important among survey participants. Just recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced that by 2018, all new vehicles will be required to have rear vision capability, enabling motorists to see behind them by looking at their center console. As many 70 lives are expected to be saved as a result, thanks to avoiding tragic accidents.

For more information on adding technology to vehicles and how that may affect rates, speak to a Selective agent near you.

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