Would you buy a car made by Google? Our poll results

September 13, 2016

A week ago, we reported on a new survey from TECHnalysis Research. It revealed that a majority of Americans would consider purchasing vehicles made by Google or Apple, if those vehicles were ever to hit the market.

A few days later, we asked our Twitter followers to share their feelings about a still-theoretical (and getting more theoretical by the day) Apple car. Though we had fewer respondents than TECHnalysis, our results were fairly similar, with 45 percent saying that they would at least consider an Apple-branded vehicle, and 10 percent raring to sign on the dotted line. Among TECHnalysis' participants, 52 percent said that they'd consider an Apple car, and 12 were prepared to buy it now.

Naturally, we wondered whether we'd get the same sort of results for cars made by Google. Google scored slightly higher in the TECHnalysis survey, with 59 percent expressing a willingness to consider purchasing its cars. That's perhaps attributable to the fact that over the past seven years, Google has been quite public about its autonomous car development efforts, while Apple hasn't even admitted that it's working on a vehicle.

And yet, our results varied more significantly than those from the Apple poll. To wit:

As you can see, 40 percent of respondents said that they'd be willing to consider purchasing a Google car--19 points below the TECHnalysis survey. And 51 percent said that they would never, ever buy a Google-branded vehicle, much higher than the 18 percent in TECHnalysis' poll. 

Of course, there are some serious differences between the two surveys. For starters, TECHnalysis is run by professional pollsters, and it fielded results from 1,000 consumers coast-to-coast. We, on the other hand, write about cars and carried out a Twitter poll, with a much smaller population of respondents. (Maybe the poll was too long for some folks?)

Also, TECHnalysis didn't include any glib or jokey responses like "The search engine?", which garnered nine percent of the vote on our Google car poll.

At the very least, though, even polls like ours demonstrate that the public is hugely divided on the topic of tech firms entering the automotive field. And what none of these surveys tackle directly is the question of autonomous vehicles. (Our polls and the one from TECHnalysis only ask about cars made by Google and Apple, not autonomous cars made by Google and Apple.) 

We expect the public's feelings about cars from non-traditional automakers will change over time, as our ideas about what constitutes a car begin to shift. 

If you missed the poll and want to share your thoughts on cars from Google--or Apple, or any other tech firm--sound off in the comments below.

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