For people between 18 and 25 years old, a mobile phone and connectivity in general are “clearly more important” than a car, according to a study of consumer attitudes toward the networked car.

“For the young generation, internet, mobile phone and social networks are extemely important, while the car as a status symbol has in recent years lost significantly in importance,” according to the “iCar”study conducted by the Center of Automotive at the German University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach.

The study concluded that younger people have high expectations of in-car connectivity but are also willing to spend money on expensive add-on services. That presents opportunities for carmakers, who have so far had mixed success in this area, the study says.

Of the 1,247 people polled, 75 pc said they couldn’t imagine being without a mobile phone for a month, while only 40 pc said the same about a car.

The Center of Automotive warned that carmakers need to build networked products that appeal to the Facebook generation. If they don’t, they run the risk of damaging their reputation with younger car buyers.

The study found that:

Ӣ58 pc of those polled would like to get information on bars and shops in their vicinity

Ӣ56 pc would like to have the option to download music that they are listening to

Ӣ45 pc would like to be able to use internet telephony in the car

ӢOne-third would like to be able to write e-mails safely

Ӣ30 pc would like to have access to social networks such as facebook

ӢOnly 18 pc of those polled were not interested in any of the above

The study expressed surprise at a key finding: that 38 pc of those polled were willing to spend money on connected-car services. The poll found that, on average, people would be wiling to pay 37 euros a month.

Willingness to pay varied from one service to the next.

Ӣ36 pc were willing to pay for navigation that would guarantee congestion avoidance

ӢOne-third would pay for help with finding free or inexpensive parking

Ӣ30 pc would pay for automatic accident reporting

Ӣ20 pc would pay for the ability to download music

ӢAnd only 5 pc would pay for access to social media.