Study: Many auto buyers don’t use in-vehicle technology

Michael Martinez
The Detroit News

Many new car and truck buyers are shunning in-vehicle technology in favor of their own smartphones or tablets that do the same functions, according to a study released Tuesday by J.D. Power.

The report surveyed 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees and found that at least 20 percent of new vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured in the study. The most “never-used” features: in-vehicle concierge (43 percent); mobile routers (38 percent); automatic parking systems (35 percent); head-up display (33 percent); and built-in apps (32 percent).

“In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.

“In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.”

The study found that 20 percent of responders don’t want 14 features in their next vehicle, most notably Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. For millennials, that number of unwanted technology features jumps to 23, especially for technologies related to entertainment and connectivity systems.

Customers do want vehicle health diagnostics, blind-spot warning and detection, and adaptive cruise control.

“The first 30 days are critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the make-it-or-break-it stage,” Kolodge said. “Automakers need to get it right the first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the in-vehicle technology.”

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We’re sick of recalls

Americans are less happy with their cars and trucks than at any time in more than a decade, mainly because they’re sick of recalls.

That’s the main finding from the 2015 American Consumer Satisfaction Index, an annual survey of nearly 4,300 people.

Last year automakers recalled a record 64 million vehicles for problems such as exploding air bags and ignition switches that can unexpectedly cause engines to stall. Rising prices also contributed to the frustration.

Associated Press