Bluetooth technology aims to leave drivers hands-free, but some drivers end up connection-free, according to a study of multimedia quality and satisfaction released.
J.D. Power and Associates found that audio, communication and navigation systems account for the most problems in 2014 vehicles purchased this year.
Power surveyed 86,118 new-vehicle owners from February to May after their first 90 days of ownership. Participants shared feedback on the quality, design and features of their audio, communication and navigation systems.
The biggest problem was voice recognition, which Power detailed earlier this month in a presentation at the CAR Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City, Mich.
Voice recognition was also the most reported problem among new-vehicle buyers last year, and performance worsened this year, according to Mike VanNieuwkuyk, J.D. Power executive director, global automotive. Problems with voice recognition averaged 8.3 vehicles per 100 this year, compared with 7.6 in 2013 .
The second-most problematic issue for drivers has been Bluetooth, though owners reported fewer problems than in 2013.
Many new-vehicle owners expect a car equipped with functional Bluetooth connectivity, but some have been disappointed. Owners reported 5.7 problems per 100 vehicles, down from 6.3 in 2013.
A number as high as 5.7 is unusual and a “very high level problem,” VanNieuwkuyk said.
Those who faced connectivity problems with Bluetooth claimed that the devices they struggle to connect most frequently are their phones, for which Bluetooth is designed. Car owners use a Bluetooth for hands-free tasks, such as talking on the phone, streaming audio, text messaging, using smartphone apps and GPS navigation.