Vehicle manufacturers are investing billions of dollars into technologies that motorists aren’t using, according to industry analyst JD Power.
JD Power’s inaugural 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) report reveals that at least 20 per cent of new vehicle owners in the US have never used half of the measured technology features fitted to their cars.
In-vehicle concierge – which allows drivers to speak to an operator over the phone for navigation help and other assistance – attracted the highest “never use” response among the survey’s 4200-plus participants, with 43 per cent of motorists whose vehicles are equipped with the feature saying they don’t use it.
Mobile routers – or in-car Wi-Fi – ranked second on the list, with the feature ignored by 38 per cent of motorists who own a Wi-Fi-equipped car.
Thirty-five per cent of motorists say they never use their car’s semi-automated parking system, backing their skills to reverse park instead of relying on the car.
Surprisingly, one third of motorists claimed to switch off their car’s head-up display unit rather than have the information projected in front of them, while 32 per cent said they never used the built-in apps in their car’s infotainment system.
JD Power claims there are 14 technology features that at least one in five motorists don’t want in their next car, including Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge and in-vehicle voice texting.
The report showed Gen Y drivers were even less convinced, with at least 20 per cent of owners claiming there were 23 measured features that they didn’t want in their next car, specifically 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,” JD Power driver interaction and HMI research executive director Kristin Kolodge said.
“In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value both for consumers and the manufacturers.”
Owners who say their dealer did not explain a feature have a higher likelihood of never using it, while features that are not activated when the vehicle is delivered often result in the driver not even knowing the technology they have in their vehicle.
The report found the technologies motorists most often want and use in their vehicles are those that enhance the driving experience and safety, such as vehicle health diagnostics, blind-spot warning and detection, and adaptive cruise control.
“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,” Kolodge said.
“Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.”