Vehicle owners like technology about fuel & toys

JD Power's latest survey looks at before and after price revelation

Published: April 26, 2013, 11:00 PM
Updated: June 7, 2015, 10:40 AM

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J.D. Power this week released results from its 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, in which they measured consumer interest and intent to purchase for a variety of technologies, and then compared them to the results after a price point was revealed.

Among vehicle owners who said they "definitely" or "probably" would purchase certain features in their next vehicle, these were the favourites:

- Device/application link (the most popular technology before price revealed, at 82%; when $250 price revealed, 67%)
- Fuel economy indicator, 79% before; 72% after $50 price revealed
- Active shutter grille vents, 76% before; 61% after $150 price revealed
- Natural language voice activation, 74%; dropped off top five after
- Next generation head-up display, 74%; dropped off top five after
- Wireless connectivity not in top five before; up to 58% when $300 price revealed
- Surround-view camera, not in top five before; up to 48% when $550 price revealed

The survey featured 22 technologies. According to JD Power, active shutter grille vents are available only on selection domestic vehicles; among owners who recently purchased from a domestic make that offers a model with active shutter grille vents, 83% indicated a pre-price interest, 7% higher than the study average of 76%.

Purchase interest declined across all features when price was a factor, but fuel economy indicator and active shutter grille vents experienced the lowest drops compared with other features, in part because they are low in price.

"Vehicle owners are continually aware of rising fuel costs and the need for better fuel economy. As they have come to understand the benefits of new automotive technology, they are increasingly interested in those that allow them to manage their fuel consumption with greater efficiency and help better manage their cost at the pump," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

Vehicle owners of Gen Y (born 1977-1995) were most likely to be interested in device applications linking technology at every price level, but the largest interest increase over the 2012 survey was among those early boomers born between 1947 and 1953. Pre-price interest was higher among men than women, and owners of compact sporty and midsize premium sport cars were higher than owners in all other vehicle segments for this technology.

Interest in semi-autonomous driving modes such as emergency braking and steering (40%) and automatic park assist (32%) was greater than fully autonomous modes.

"Fully autonomous driving is slowly working its way into the mindset of vehicle owners by way of those who utilize semi-autonomous driving features with comfort and confidence," said VanNieuwkuyk. "While it will take more time for vehicle owners to embrace fully autonomous driving, the gateway for acceptance is underway given relatively strong interest in many semi-autonomous features."

Gen Xers (born 1965-1976) had the most interest in low-speed collision avoidance (59%) and Gen Y had the highest market interest for emergency braking and steering (44%).