The 'connected car' driving buyers' choices

Future of connected cars
Future of connected cars   

The day is approaching when the reason you buy a particular vehicle will be driven largely by the connectivity that car offers.

That's the conclusion of a new study by McKinsey, which looks into the growing importance of Internet connectivity in vehicles.

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"Connectivity is increasingly important for the consumer buying a new vehicle," said Hans-Werner Kaas, who conducted the study for McKinsey. "This is not just another feature, it's really a primary factor."

The auto companies know it.

Audi A3
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Audi A3

Audi and General Motors are both aggressively promoting the fact a number of models in their lineups now feature 4G connectivity.

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McKinsey found 80 percent of car buyers in America consider connectivity "important" or "very important."

Not surprisingly, the younger the car buyer, the more important they consider connectivity.

McKinsey found 65 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds surveyed considered connectivity an important factor to consider when buying a vehicle. That compares with 43 percent for those ages 35-54 years old, and just 18 percent for those 55-74 years old.

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Perhaps most interesting for automakers is what McKinsey found when it asked car buyers if they would switch brands due to the connectivity features and platform offered by a particular vehicle.

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Twenty percent said they would consider switching brands for better connectivity.

"It is clear as the technology develops and it goes further into cars, it will present opportunities for automakers," said John Newman of McKinsey.

Questions? Comments? BehindTheWheel@cnbc.com.