JCI’s 2011 concept vehicle, the ie:3, features some of the features that young car buyers want (Photo: JCI)

A survey of 2,800 so-called "digital natives" confirmed that people in their twenties and thirties need full connectivity in their cars.

US-based Johnson Controls (JCI) surveyed young people in Germany, Great Britain, China and the U.S. and concluded that their "key desire" is to stay connected to the digital world while driving.

"To this generation, a car is a place where they are largely cut off from the internet and mobile communications,” said Andreas Maashoff, director of industrial design & market research at JCI. Young people want a car that also keeps them connected to the digital world, he added.

Persons surveyed wanted the ability to easily connect smartphones and tablet PCs and to charge them through a car's systems when necessary.

They also cited access to information as important and appreciated location-based services such as automatic directions to a gasoline station - and gas price information - when running short on fuel.

JCI said digital natives want to be able to operate cars like smartphones and receive real-time information on all car systems. They are fans of touchscreens and systems that can be adapted to suit personal preferences. And they want to be able to control all functions and devices using voice commands.

Because younger buyers prefer small or medium-sized vehicles, Maashoff said"we must focus on applying more innovations in the lower vehicle segments from the outset."

In 2011, JCI built a concept vehicle, the ie:3, which has some of those features. Information is accessed through a 9-inch multi-touch screen, a head-up display provides easy visualization and wireless charging points are embedded in the floor console.