Consumers Continue To Cite Concerns about New Vehicle Tech: Report
Moneylife Digital Team 07 September 2022
New car shoppers are often swayed by flashy technology but a new survey of car owners finds some of the latest in-dash technology may not be ready for prime time. About 46% of vehicle owners reported at least one problem with the technology in their vehicles and fingerprint reader produced the largest number of problems in the survey, says a report. 
 
Quoting JD Power's 2022 US Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, Consumer Affairs, US-based consumer news and advocacy, says, “The study findings indicate there can be a large variation in the number of problems encountered for a particular tech, meaning that some automaker executions are much better at meeting user expectations. For example, the rear seat reminder technology has a range of total problems spanning from 1.9 average problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) to 26.2 PP100, demonstrating that the tech can be developed with minimal owner complaints.”
 
The study follows similar research a year ago that found problems with the vehicle infotainment system were the major source of customer dissatisfaction with new cars and trucks. Specifically, more consumers were unhappy about how their smartphones connected—or didn't connect—to their vehicle's system.
 
JD Power told the website the auto industry should address the issues identified by new car owners but should not back away from experimenting with the latest technology.
 
"Innovation is non-negotiable," says Kathleen Rizk, senior director of user experience benchmarking and technology at JD Power. "The fact that the PP100 for a technology is high should not discourage automakers from innovating, as there is often a wide range of total problems experienced for a technology across the brands."
 
According to ConsumerAffairs.com, the latest study by JD Power found that the fingerprint reader was the most problematic tech issue in the study's history. Included in the survey for the first time, the fingerprint reader experienced the lowest overall satisfaction score.
 
Hyundai introduced the fingerprint reader in 2018. Using a fingerprint reader on a smartphone, the technology allows the driver to unlock doors and start the engine remotely.
 
In the 2022 study, Hyundai's Genesis ranked highest overall for customer satisfaction with in-car technology. It was also the highest among premium brands with an innovation index score of 643. In the premium segment, Cadillac, with a score of 584, ranked second and Mercedes-Benz ranked third with a score of 539.
 
Hyundai ranked highest among mass market brands with a score of 534. Kia earned a score of 495 to rank second, while Buick, GMC, and Subaru tied for third with a score of 482.
 
Here are key findings of the 2022 study:
 
Fingerprint reader most problematic tech in TXI’s history: The fingerprint reader, included in the study for the first time, is the lowest-performing technology across the key metrics of problems experienced (54.3 PP100) and has the lowest overall satisfaction score (6.08 on a 10-point scale). It surpasses interior gesture controls, which previously held the record for being the lowest-performing technology in each of the past two years. The poor performance of the fingerprint reader technology—resulting in many owners not wanting it on their next vehicle—is a missed opportunity, as many owners have used fingerprint technology to access their smartphones.
 
Tech desires reflect considerable regional differences: JD Power TXI studies conducted in the United States, Japan and China include many of the same advanced and emerging technologies, but future interest in those technologies vary by country. EV-based technologies are among the top five most desired technologies in America. Owners in China have more interest in infotainment and connectivity technologies while emerging automation techs rank in the top five among owners in Japan.
 
Dealers can add value to in-vehicle technology: The result of a dealer demonstrating almost all advanced and emerging technologies results in owners being less likely to abandon a technology after trying it. When a dealer educates a new owner, it elevates the entire ownership experience. In fact, the average vehicle model net promoter score (NPS) is higher for those owners who received dealer training for their advanced technologies than those who learned about them from outside sources (88 vs 81, respectively, on a scale of -100 to 100). This highlights the important role dealerships play in creating awareness and acceptance of advanced technologies.
 
Tesla's unofficial score is highest in study: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with an innovation index score of 681 (on a 1,000-point scale). However, because Tesla Motors does not allow JD Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla vehicles remain ineligible for awards.
 
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