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Many new buyers don't know how new technology works

Survey shows 40% don't understand new tech; only 33% would ask about it

Published: March 2, 2017, 9:30 PM
Updated: March 6, 2017, 4:33 PM

New car handover at the dealership

A survey of new car buyers in the UK has revealed that 40% of recent new-car buyers don’t know how to use the technology in their new purchases, more than 40% of those believe road safety is compromised as a result, but two thirds of them would not ask about features they were unsure about.

Continental Tires recently surveyed more than 2,000 motorists and concluded the main culprit could be lack of training at the dealership, following the sale. The research indicated the average vehicle handover lasts about 51 minutes, and mostly consists of filling out all the financial paperwork, and demonstrations of the entertainment systems, comfort features, basic maintenance requirements and a rundown of safety features.

About 45% of those surveyed thought more time should be spent on the complex systems and settings on today’s new vehicles, with the top three items needing attention listed as safety features, basic maintenance and fuel economy, in that order.

“New technologies are adding features to the devices and products we use all the time, including the cars we drive,” said Continental Tires’ safety expert Mark Griffiths. “If we don’t have the chance to keep pace with innovations in convenience and comfort that might be a shame, but when advances are delivered to increase road safety, it is vital we have the chance to understand how we benefit.”

It’s interesting to note, though, that more than half of those surveyed also admitted to not fully understanding all the functions of their smartphones, tablets and other devices.

Further, only 33% of new buyers said they would ask about an automotive technology they were unsure about during the handover. Many admitted to not knowing what Automated Emergency Braking (AEB) does, or how Head-Up Displays work and can be configured.

For their part, manufacturers believe the average vehicle handover takes about an hour to an hour and a half, and said that time should be extended accordingly when dealing with more technology.

The survey also revealed that only a third are willing to pay for additional safety features, with the majority expecting all appropriate safety features should be standard. Further, 52% of motorists are not in favour of further automation, if it means a loss of control for them.

“As a leading technology business, we are responsible for many present and future systems and safety features for vehicles,” concludes Griffiths. “We all have a responsibility to learn how to apply safety technology and believe that the vehicle handover is a vital opportunity to do this.”