To think of it, there are so
many features in a modern car that an owner of a car in India or elsewhere
around the world does not really use. Everybody knows there is a safety airbag;
well no body wishes to use that! But in an accident they do get deployed and
saves your life. In India, for example we know it is mandatory for all cars to
come with safety belts both for the front and rear passengers but seldom do
people us them. The common man hates it, the cops do not wear it, the emergency
service people do not like to wear them, and perhaps every second Indian in the
country does not wear them. Maybe they are not aware of their critical
utilities! But that is a different story and needs separate attention.
But around the world in some
of the developed countries too, people driving cars and light vehicles are not
aware about the technologies embedded in their vehicles and hence do not use
them ever. Automakers are investing billions of dollars to put technologies in
their cars and light trucks that are not being used by many of the owners of
those vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle
Experience (DrIVE) Report.
The 2015 DrIVE Report measures
driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days
The report finds that at least
20 pc of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features
measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use”
are in-vehicle concierge (43pc); mobile routers (38pc); automatic parking
systems (35pc); head-up display (33pc); and built-in apps (32pc).
There are 14 technology
features that 20 pc or more of owners do not want in their next vehicle,
including Apple CarPlay and Google Android Auto, in-vehicle concierge services
and in-vehicle voice texting. Among Gen
Y, the number of features unwanted by at least 20 pc of owners increases to 23,
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,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive
director of driver interaction & HMI research at J.D. Power. “In-vehicle
connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost
value for both consumers and the manufacturers,” stated Kolodge.
Among all owners, the most
frequently cited reasons for not wanting a specific technology feature in their
next vehicle are “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
In addition, owners who say
their dealer did not explain the feature have a higher likelihood of never
using the technology. Furthermore, 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.
Kolodge noted that the
technologies owners most often want are those that enhance the driving
experience and safety, which are only available as a built-in feature rather
than via an external device. In-vehicle technologies that most owners do want
include vehicle health diagnostics, blind-spot warning and detection, and
adaptive cruise control.
“The first 30 days are
critical. That first-time experience with the technology is the
make-it-or-break-it stage,” said Kolodge. “Automakers need to get it right the
first time, or owners will simply use their own mobile device instead of the
Because the first few weeks of
ownership are so critical, dealerships play the most important role in helping
owners get off to a good start with the technology in their vehicle, Kolodge
“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. “Automakers also need to explain the technology to dealership staff and
train them on how to demonstrate it to owners.”
Use of in-vehicle technologies
has implications beyond the auto industry. For example, the insurance industry
is closely tracking automotive technology for safety and financial purposes.
Insurers are concerned that difficult-to-use technology may distract drivers
and cause an accident. Using smartphones instead of in-vehicle technology also
creates safety issues. Additionally, in-vehicle technology can significantly
increase claims costs for vehicles damaged in an accident.
“While some technologies, such
as lane-departure warning, are making vehicles safer, the insurance industry is
very concerned about the driver-distraction hazards caused by some of the other
technologies,” said Chip Lackey, senior director of the insurance practice at
J.D. Power. “In addition, technology drives up the repair and replacement
costs. A slight bumper scrape that would normally cost a few hundred dollars to
repair can catapult a claim into thousands of dollars when a park assist camera
or other sensors are damaged.”
The 2015 Driver Interactive
Vehicle Experience (DrIVE) Report is based on responses from more than 4,200
vehicle owners and lessees after 90 days of ownership. The report was fielded
in April through June 2015.
Source: J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience (DrIVE)
Report/ Motown India
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