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Five technologies that customers chose not to use

Unused technologies are costly for both customers and manufacturers

Published: August 25, 2015, 11:50 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 11:40 AM

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Today's new cars and trucks are rich in technologies that make drivers safer, more comfortable and more connected than ever before. But that doesn't mean that buyers are using them.

At least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used almost half of the advanced technology features in their vehicles, according to the 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report, published by J.D. Power and Associates.

The DrIVE Report measures driver experiences with up to 33 specific in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership.

The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are: in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (wi-fi hotspots) (38%) ; automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).

There are 14 technology features that 20% or more of owners don't want in their next vehicle, according to the report. They include such high-profile features as Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services and in-vehicle voice texting. 

Apple CarPlay

The number of features unwanted by at least 20% of Gen-Y owners (born 1977-1994) increases to 23. They specifically reject built-in technologies related to entertainment and connectivity systems.

“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,” explained Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power.

Among all owners, the most frequently cited reasons for not wanting a specific technology feature in their next vehicle are that they “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.”

According to the report, owners who say their dealer did not explain the feature have a higher likelihood of never using the technology. Features that are not activated when the vehicle is delivered often result in the owner not even knowing they have the technology 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.

“In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers," she added.

The technologies owners most often do want, according to Kolodge, are those that enhance the driving experience and safety, which are only available as a built-in feature rather than via an external device. Those features include: vehicle health diagnostics; blind-spot warning and detection; and adaptive cruise control.

The 2015 DrIVE Report is based on responses from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees in the U.S. after 90 days of ownership. The report was fielded in April through June 2015.