The automotive application market has gone from being virtually nonexistent to fraught with competition and new daily announcements. Most major car OEMs, such as Ford, GM, BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Hyundai and Renault, have all publicized their app strategies. In addition, the likes of Apple, Google and other OS platforms have all made statements regarding in-car app platforms. ABI Research forecasts the market for automotive apps will boom to nearly 12 billion downloads in 2019.

In-car apps will revolutionize the way we drive forever; both driver- and vehicle-centric apps will make our driving experience more personalized and help keep cars connected and current. In general, OEMs will select either the dedicated app store or the smartphone-run approach. As it stands, premium car manufacturers are more likely to want control over the look and feel of app stores; lower priced cars are more likely to consider running apps via the smartphone. However, with the recent announcements from Google, Apple and Microsoft, it is clear that the smartphone links will gain greater momentum in the near future. Consequently, similar to the smartphone industry, car manufacturers should avoid making profit directly from the apps, and instead do so indirectly by adding value to their cars.

“Putting aside business model issues, the sky really is the limit where in-car apps are considered,” said Filomena Berardi, senior analyst. “Ford has started the ball rolling with its Domino’s Pizza and Pulse home security apps. With these in mind, we can expect to hear other wacky app announcements; however, in addition to the novelty apps, ABI Research believes a number of ‘killer’ apps will emerge that could prove indispensable for drivers, some of which will be for purposes that up until now we would not have imagined possible.”

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