A Guide to Discussing Vehicle Connectivity With Customers

January 10, 2024

Team ACV




A Guide to Discussing Vehicle Connectivity With Customers

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The interior of a futuristic car with vehicle connectivity

From the rise of the internet to increasingly more capable phones, technology continues to revolutionize our lives. Connectivity allows us to communicate and receive information at accelerated rates and have instant access to information, music, weather reports, and navigation. The automotive industry has taken full advantage of this connectivity, integrating technology for consumer convenience and vehicle performance. Customers looking to purchase new vehicles will be curious about the potential features available, especially as onboard computers become more sophisticated and enable downloadable updates for essential systems.

These tech advancements also have downsides, including increased security vulnerabilities—and customers may be curious about those as well. To ensure your dealership is prepared for these questions, here is an overview of the tech integrations common in newer vehicles and potential concerns related to car connectivity.

Examples of Increased Connectivity

It’s difficult to find a new vehicle without an infotainment system. These typically come in the form of a screen that allows drivers and passengers to play music, connect to smartphones to take advantage of certain apps, display GPS directions, and provide internet hot spots. Some vehicles can also display information about sensors and cameras, making it easier to identify obstacles on and off the road, monitor battery and fuel levels, and change comfort and performance settings.

Additionally, some vehicles can stay connected to their manufacturer wirelessly. This allows the manufacturer to push software updates to improve efficiency and patches to fix problems, collect diagnostic data for troubleshooting, and understand car performance¹. Data on drivers’ habits, such as speeds and frequent routes, can also give valuable insight into a manufacturer's customer base. Tesla even uses this data to offer its own brand of insurance with rates that vary based on driving metrics². 

Vehicles can also connect to their environment and one another through integrations for safe driving. Emerging safety tech includes communication between vehicles that relays speed and direction information. Envisioning a world where sharing the road with autonomous vehicles is safe and effective is easier when vehicles can communicate with one another and anticipate actions in real time¹.

Connectivity Concerns

There are several concerns potential customers may have with this increased connectivity. These are merited, given that there’s been a sharp increase in application programming interface (API) attacks within the automotive industry³.

Unauthorized Access

Wireless and software access to vehicles means there’s a non-physical point of entry into a vehicle’s control system, which can allow hackers to cause a range of problems. In some cases, they may be able to lock a driver out of their vehicle and hold it for ransom the same way cybercriminals might access and demand payment for company data or individual personal computers⁴.

It’s also possible for remote unauthorized users to take over the vehicle’s functionality. This could allow them to change the settings or even release physical locks on the car and steal it.

Data Theft & Privacy Concerns

If data is transferred through the car’s connections, such as credit card information or personally identifying details, it’s possible for a hacker to gain access to that as well. In short, the same information security vulnerabilities found in computers are going to be present in connected vehicles. 

There are concerns beyond hackers gaining access to a vehicle’s technology. Some consumers may simply be concerned by the amount of information collected about their location and behaviors. Even if there are legitimate diagnostic reasons for collecting this data, the decrease in privacy can be off-putting for some consumers⁵.

Changes to Vehicle Functionality

Drivers may also be turned off by a manufacturer’s ability to push updates and make software changes to the vehicle. Mandatory updates can force drivers to adapt to a new user interface they don’t necessarily want or trigger performance problems if new software is incompatible with a particular model.

Given the rise of subscription-based features and services, drivers may also experience anxiety over the possibility of being locked out of key amenities they enjoy.

How Can Dealerships Support Customers as Cars Become More Connected?

With significant concerns on the table, it’s important to be able to address these issues to make a sale. Here are some ways to tackle the connectivity concerns head-on.

Understand the Issues

First and foremost, sales associates and service teams should be aware of these potential concerns and the current solutions. This is an opportunity for dealerships to invest in ongoing education as a way of enhancing customer service.

Understand the Countermeasures

Car manufacturers put great effort into making their systems safe and secure, and this work should be apparent to the buyers. The positive impact of over-the-air updates, for example, is that vulnerabilities can be patched remotely rather than remaining permanent or requiring a service department visit.

Vehicles utilize authentication systems to limit access and encrypt information as it is transmitted and received. While these measures aren’t 100% foolproof, they do provide a reasonable level of security and will evolve alongside the vehicle’s onboard technology.

Know the Benefits and Levels of Integration

Connectivity is meant to be a new generation of features, not a source of risks. Be forthcoming with customers about what positives the technology provides in terms of convenience, information insights, and long-term adaptability. Understanding the levels of connectivity can help as well. Is the vehicle connected to the cloud and equipped with internal cameras, or does it just utilize a phone’s GPS? Customers may be comfortable with a certain level of technological integration, especially if certain features are optional. Some drivers will be excited about high levels of automation, while others might only be okay with safety assistance.

Make Smart Inventory Choices With ACV Auctions

As cars become more technologically advanced, dealers need to be prepared to educate consumers about their options. And it all starts with comprehensive vehicle condition reports at the inventory acquisition stage. ACV Auctions provides all the details about vehicle condition and features, so you know what you’re bidding on and can pass that knowledge on to your customers. Register today to access top-quality used vehicles from across the U.S.



  1. Gabriel-Lonel, G. (2 October 2022). Security in Automotive: Connected Cars, Cyber Risks, And Safeguarding The Future Of Mobility, Stefanini Group. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from https://stefanini.com/en/insights/articles/security-in-automotive-industry
  2. Stonehouse, A. (14 August 2023). What Is Tesla Insurance? CapitalOne Auto Navigator. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from https://www.capitalone.com/cars/learn/managing-your-money-wisely/what-is-tesla-insurance/2521
  3. Moore, T. (22 March 2023). Uncharted Territory: Managing The New Security Risks of Connected Cars, Forbes. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2023/03/22/uncharted-territory-managing-the-new-security-risks-of-connected-cars/?sh=3be1fbbf306b
  4. Investigating the Benefits and Risks of Connected Car Technologies, VicOne. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from https://vicone.com/blog/investigating-the-benefits-and-risks-of-connected-car-technologies
  5. Wireless Data Privacy and Connected Cars: Evaluating Risks. Utilities One. Retrieved December 21, 2023, from https://utilitiesone.com/wireless-data-privacy-and-connected-cars-evaluating-risks