NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- For car shoppers under the age of 31, the biggest factor in deciding what to buy isn't performance, fuel economy or comfort, it's the shopping experience and "cockpit technology," according to a recent study.
Cockpit technology includes things like Bluetooth phone interfaces, attachments for MP3 players and voice-to-text technologies that can allow people to interact with text messages or emails while driving.
There seems to be an intrinsic conflict between safety and drivers' desires to stay connected while driving.
Car companies will have to deal carefully with that issue, according to researchers at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business, one of four graduate schools that participated in the Deloitte study.
"Regulation keeps trying to say texting is distracting to driving, but for the consumer it is really the driving that is distracting to texting." the researchers said.
Distracted driving, and texting while driving in particular, has been a particular focus for Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
"In 2009, nearly 5,500 people were killed and another half a million more were injured due to distracted driving. Multitasking with communications devices behind the wheel has deadly consequences, and everyone has a personal responsibility to focus first and foremost on driving safely."
LaHood has been meeting individually with carmakers to discuss the issue, a spokeswoman for the secretary said.
Automakers are increasingly battling one another to come up with new systems to allow drivers to interact with portable devices while driving.
Ford Motor Co. has credited its Sync system with helping to boost sales. However, Consumer Reports magazine recently withheld its sought-after recommendation from two Ford crossover SUVs partly because the magazine's car testers found the latest version of the system confusing. Ford Chairman Bill Ford, speaking at the Detroit Auto Show, promised that improvements are being made.
General Motors, meanwhile, is adding new technology to it's OnStar system including an iPhone application and a system that allows drivers to update their Facebook status by voice.
Automakers will also have to keep up with the pace of change that's expected in these technologies. New cars typically take years to develop while new, improved cell phones and other portable devices come out every few months.
"To take a competitive advantage, automotive manufacturers must be in lock-step with the technology world so that new technologies (e.g., new mobile phone features) are immediately available in vehicles." the report said.
Although the study found that Gen-Yers are much more excited about buying a car than Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, younger car shoppers aren't very patient when it comes to the dealership experience. More than half of those under 31 said a bad dealership experience would cause them to never consider a car brand again.
More than half also said the main reason to go to a dealer is merely for a test drive. They don't want to work with a car dealer face-to-face when buying a car, preferring to transact business over the Internet instead.
Loosening state restrictions have given gun silencer sales a boost. Silencers are now legal in 41 states, compared to 37 four years ago. Also some gun makers are making it easy to attach them. More
Beijing has just won the 2022 Winter Olympics but the competition was weak after many rivals dropped out due to concerns about the costs and lack of economic benefits. More
Fast-food chains that operate in more than 30 locations nationwide are the sole target of a new rule in New York to hike their minimum wage to $15. But consumers and small business owners, as well as some employees, may be the ones to pay the price. More
You can't blame it on the economy anymore. More Millennials now have jobs, but are still living at home. More