Safety Tech Triumphs All Others In J.D. Power Study


Car buyers want more technology in their vehicles. Check that. Car buyers want more SAFETY technology in their vehicles.  A new J.D. Power Tech Choice study finds that safety tech triumphs entertainment and convenience options on consumer’s wish lists.

The study looked at 59 different technologies, ranging from safety to smartphone connectivity to navigations and the message was clear: safety won out.

The top five things on people’s wish lists:  blind sport detection, night vision, enhanced collision mitigation systems, rearview cameras and finally, the oddball of the five, self-healing paint.

“There is a tremendous interest in collision protection technologies across all generations, which creates opportunities across the market,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “In contrast, there is very little interest in energy efficiency technologies such as active shutter grille vents and solar glass roofs. Owners aren’t as enthusiastic about having these technologies in their next vehicle because of other efforts automakers are taking to improve fuel economy, as well as relatively low fuel prices at the present time.”

The surprise here for automakers might be the lukewarm response to car connectivity. Consumer preferences for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are uniquely dependent on which smartphone they own. Those who currently own a smartphone that is compatible with one of these technologies would choose the technology compatible with their phone at only a moderate rate, while those with the opposite brand of smartphone will rarely, if ever, choose that technology. For example, Android owners indicate that Apple CarPlay is “unacceptable” nearly twice as often as they indicate that solar glass roof is unacceptable. Similarly, Apple phone owners indicate that Android Auto is “unacceptable” nearly twice as often as solar glass roof.

Kolodge noted that “lukewarm interest in these technologies that connect your phone to your vehicle coupled with consumer loyalty to their phone poses a unique challenge for automakers, which could be remedied by knowing their customers’ phone preferences.”

As for who is going to pay for this stuff, J.D Power says millennials are willing to shell out the most for all of that extra tech, and average of around  $3,700 a vehicle. Gen Y consumers, who have accounted for 27.7 percent of new-vehicle sales thus far in 2015—second only to Boomers at 37.1 percent—are willing to spend an average of $3,703 on technology for their next vehicle. Gen X is willing to spend $3,007, while Boomers, who show the greatest price sensitivity, and Pre-Boomers are willing to spend only $2,416 and $2,067, respectively.

Photo Credit: Toyota
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