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Car Owners Rejecting Entertainment, Connectivity Features, Report Finds

August 25, 2015

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Vehicle owners are not using many of the new technologies put into cars and light trucks, according J.D. Power's 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report (DrIVE).

The 2015 DrIVE Report measured driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership. The report finds that at least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured.

The five features most owners said they never use include: in-vehicle concierge (43%), mobile routers (38%), automatic parking systems (35%), heads-up display (33%) and built-in apps (32%).

“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.”

There are 14 technologies that at least 20% of car owners said they did not want in their next vehicle, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. Among Gen Y owners, the number of unwanted features ballooned to 23, specifically technologies related to entertainment and connectivity systems.

The most frequently cited reason for not wanting a specific technology was that owners “did not find it useful” in their current vehicle and the technology “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it.”

The report also found that owners said technologies that were not explained by their dealer had a higher likelihood of never being used. Additionally, features that were not activated when the vehicle was delivered often resulted in the owner not even knowing the technology existed in their new vehicle.

“While dealers are expected to play a key role in explaining the technology to consumers, the onus should be on automakers to design the technology to be intuitive for consumers,” said Kolodge. “Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.”

The technologies which owners most often wanted were those that enhance the driving experience and safety. Those technologies included 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,” said Kolodge. “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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