Technology is transforming experiences in every sector, and the automotive space is no exception. As the industry has evolved with an increasing focus on in-car experiences, buyers have found new and innovative ways to measure the value of their vehicles. Mechanical performance and exterior design have been outranked by the promise of cutting-edge experiences delivered by and in the car. Automotive experts across the industry, including the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council originally formed by HARMAN and SBD Automotive, are watching consumers prioritize finding new ways to bridge their worlds inside and outside the car with connectivity-focused technologies that elevate the in-cabin experience.

In a new report released by the EPM Advisory Council, the EPM Advisory Council and IPSOS, a well-known Research Provider, sought to explore the value of creating a new experience-based metric for the automotive industry, known as the EPM Index. In contrast to the currently accepted measurements, which focus on satisfaction and quality of features and functions inside the vehicle, the team aimed to create an alternative and actionable metric to measure a vehicle based on its ability to provide the customer with more fulfilling EPM. The study, designed by capturing ideas and thoughts from the EPM Advisory Council as well as today’s consumers, sought to measure and assess Experiences Per Mile from a consumer’s point of view. Participants shared their goals for a given trip, how well those goals were ultimately met, and their overall rating of the trip. In doing this, the council could evaluate the viability of an EPM Index and gain general knowledge from the study, which can be used for future measurement and methodology.

Learn more about some of the key findings below. 

Consumer trip goals vary by the type of trip they are taking

The first key finding is that automotive consumers have many goals as they get into their vehicles, and the prioritization of those goals varies by trip type. They’re entering the car-buying experience with various types of journeys in mind – from dropping the kids off at soccer practice to taking a business meeting on the road – and whatever vehicle they purchase needs to be flexible enough to accommodate each of their differing needs depending on the journey of the day. Critically, research showed the accomplishment or fulfillment realized has a strong correlation with a trip’s goals, and this is crucial to a customer’s overall trip rating. 

The purpose of the EPM Index

The Advisory Council core members and IPSOS developed the EPM Index, a complex rating system that differentiates across trip types and various vehicle models. This key metric would assist customers in making vehicle purchasing decisions by allowing them to compare individual vehicles based on how well they could help customers meet their various trip needs. Just how would the EPM Index serve customers in the real world? Imagine shopping for a car, either online or at the dealership, and asking to review vehicles with the highest EPM Index rating for “Excursions,” which could be appealing to customers who often enjoy getting on the open road with family and friends. 

The EPM Advisory Council and EPM Index Defined

“To build a sustainable business for the long term, Nissan continuously adapts to changing customer expectations and delivers new customer experiences that meet those expectations.  The EPM Index came from the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council’s desire to measure the in-vehicle customer experience relative to the customer’s key trip-goals. This metric measures the personal experience of the consumer based on how the vehicle accomplishes these goals seamlessly and with ease.  With further evolution of the EPM Index, Experiences Per Mile may become a key foundation of an industry-wide focus on delivering a seamless customer experience in all areas.” 

Dan Mohnke,

Vice President, Customer Journey & Data Innovation

Nissan NA

Technology enthusiasts appreciate experiences delivered

Interestingly, the exploratory research indicated that the technology in the car may affect the ability to achieve a high score on the EPM Index, particularly for consumers who tend to use and appreciate the additional tech features. Observing a clear pattern identified throughout the study, researchers concluded the use of in-car technology tends to help customers meet their various trip goals, thus leading to higher ratings on the EPM Indices. The more types of technology that were used during the drive in the cabin, the higher were the EPM scores. The inverse also held true. Features like audio systems, Satellite radio, connected services, voice recognition and texting using VR or screen contributed to the overall experience ratings. OEMs who focus on encouraging and training new vehicle owners to use the technology inside their newly purchased cars can potentially improve the car owner’s experience and, in turn, influence the EPM Index positively. By analyzing the impact of individual tech features on the EPM Index, it is possible to identify the features that are most and least effective in helping customers reach their trip goals, information that would prove useful to OEMs and customers alike. 

The EPM Index by Tech Usage

“The consumer is looking for the latest technology in everything they buy. The automobile is certainly no exception. Therefore, Hyundai strives to be the first to place cutting-edge technology in its vehicles. The EPM Index in the new Exploratory Study created by the EPM Advisory Council shows that more technology use is associated with a higher experience rating.  Customer training on how to use and benefit from the technologies is equally important.”

Manish Mehrotra
Director, Digital Business Planning & Connected Operations
Hyundai (HMA)

As technologies that help consumers enjoy connected, customizable experiences in the car take the front seat, we at HARMAN continue to create and perfect solutions that improve their Experiences Per Mile with our peers that are members of the Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council. Want to dive deeper into the findings from the latest EPM report? Follow the link for the complete report here.

The Experiences Per Mile Advisory Council is co-directed by representatives from:

  • Cox Automotive, HARMAN, HERE and SBD Automotive

It is comprised of industry executives that are studying all aspects of mobility including vehicle personalization. EPM Advisory Council member companies include OEMs such as: 

  • Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Hyundai, Nissan NA, Polaris, Silk-FAW Automotive Group, Stellantis, Vinfast and Zoox. 

Other technology-based and/or suppliers to the industry involved in the council include: 

AccuWeather, Amazon Web Services, Cox Automotive, DarkTrace, HARMAN, HERE, Intel, LG Electronics, Otonomo, Panasonic, SAP, SBD Automotive, Spotify, TomTom, Whip Mobility and Xperi.