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Study Reveals Auto Owners Shunning Lots Of Tech They Paid For

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 6, 2021

Automakers are stuffing cars and trucks with technology they think consumers want but there are some high-tech features owners not only refuse to use, but actively avoiding. That was the revelation discovered in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Tech Experience Index Study (TXI) released today.

It’s a troubling eyeopener for both automakers and consumers said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power who noted to Forbes.com “When you think about inventory and new vehicle prices at all time high, it really stood out to us the number of technologies not being utilized by consumers after three months of ownership. I think it’s a stark signal to us to say what can we do as an industry to drive better engagement. Having a technology and not using it makes no one happy.”

The study, conducted from February to July of this year, is based on responses from 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership.

It found for more than one in three advanced technologies fewer than half the owners surveyed said they used the technology during the first 90 days of ownership.

Specifically, 61% of owners said they never used the in-vehicle digital market technology with 51% of those saying they don’t need it. More than half, 52% also said they’ve never used driver/passenger communication technology and 40% of those saying they have no use for it.

Kolodge noted that message of “just don’t need it” was surprisingly prevalent and instructive. “So this is important for industry to hear that message loud and clear and make sure the new vehicle owner understands the intention and how to use that technology and see if they come to that same conclusion,” she said.

In the case of attempting to perform a function using hand gestures, the technology either didn’t work or misinterpreted the intent of the gesture and performed the wrong task, Kolodge said.

On the positive side, owners said they loved anything using cameras, especially the camera rear view mirror which converts the mirror image to a digital image.

Another bright spot related to advanced technologies included in some electric vehicles—one-pedal driving and energy assistance displays. One-pedal technology allows the driver to operate the EV with only the accelerator. When the foot is lifted from the pedal, the vehicle slows. It’s a feature Kolodge said “surprised and delighted with owners saying it’s a must-have feature.”

EV energy assistance provides vital information such as charging stations, state of charge, efficient routes for an EV. “All the helpful things that make the EV experience more confident for the owner. That one technology is an accelerator to EV adoption,” noted Kolodge.

Among brand innovation ratings, Genesis rated highest overall and among premium brands and its corporate cousin Hyundai was the highest rated mass market brand.

“Top performers Genesis and Hyundai are demonstrating their innovative prowess—how many technologies that are new to market that they offer and equally important how well they’re executed. Hyundai offers remote parking assistance, the only mass market brand to offer that technology,” said Kolodge.


actually had the highest score but was not ranked because the company does not allow J.D. Power to survey owners in enough states to meet sample size requirements.

At the bottom of the list were Jeep, Mini and Mitsubishi, which Kolodge said suffered because their vehicles either didn’t include enough innovative technologies, owners experienced problems or the technologies were poorly executed.

Aside from improved quality, dealers must take the time to fully explain to customers the intended function of a technology and how to use it, Kolodge said, adding, “It’s the pathway to success for technology in setting consumers up for higher satisfaction.”


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