Now this Fiat Chrysler hack is a little scary. Fiat Chrysler is recalling its new Jeep Cherokees after the company found that its Internet connectivity can be hacked.
The uConnect system, which allows drivers to control their entertainment and navigation abilities while driving, is being recalled to update the software.
This is only the beginning. Auto sales are rising in 2015 for several reasons. Cars that most of us have kept going longer than we normally would have are now being turned in for newer models, consumers are getting savvier about buying online (and dealerships are getting smarter about how to transform that into on-lot sales) and new automobiles are being outfitted with new technology.
Sales had dipped over the last decade, primarily because the manufacturers gave consumers few reasons to trade in their own vehicles that were running just fine. Messaging, as we’ve seen in our latest automotive study, is all so similar that consumers can’t distinguish one brand from another. (Which is why there is little brand loyalty and some inertia.)
Technology, having a vehicle that’s as tapped into the Internet as your laptop, has been the driving force for new trade-ins. Now, consumers have a reason to upgrade from their technology-less vehicles.
The problem with all this new technology.
But there are two issues looming that automakers must consider. For one, as the Fiat Chrysler hack has shown, security will become an initial differentiating force as consumers want to make sure that their information and control are protected. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing ads in the coming months that hit on the idea of Internet security.
That’s all fine and good. But, eventually, technology and security will become table stakes, i.e., what you need to even play in the market. Pretty soon, all new brands will have up-to-date technology and powerful security. Those values will become as common as low gas mileage is today.
That means automotive manufacturers will be left in the same place they were heading into this year: Having nothing that provides a true choice among all the competition.