High-tech features are becoming a major factor in new car sales, but as automakers rush to get the latest and greatest technology in the field, not all are succeeding at the same pace.
According to JD Power’s 2022 Tech Experience Index (TXI) study, few aspects of a vehicle have as much variation between automakers as technology in terms of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). For example, the number of problems for rear seat tell-tales ranges from 1.2 PP100 to more than 10 times that, to 26.2 PP100 for the worst-performing rear seat tell-tales.
That variation is important for an automaker, because the risk of harassing customers with bad technology can be doubly debilitating, according to Kathleen Rizk, the senior director of benchmarking and user experience technology at JD Power. She says the risk of poor implementation of a technology can deter automakers from innovating.
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“JD Power transaction data shows that getting the right mix of technology features owners want is important for perception, profit and sales,” said Rizk. “When owners get the technology features they really want — and that meet their expectations of the user experience — the results are positive and those owners tell their friends about the experience.”
Technology features generally have very high PP100 scores, but fingerprint scanners, which will be included in the study for the first time in 2022, are the most problematic feature in the history of the TXI. With users experiencing 54.3 issues per 100 experiences, it is now the lowest user satisfaction feature in the TXI, overtaking gesture controls. Indeed, many owners simply don’t want it in their vehicles, because of its poor performance, writes JD Power.
However, the research organization found that dealers demonstrating how a technology works, especially if that technology is new, can have a major impact on how satisfied customers are with the technology.
The brands that best apply all these lessons seem to belong to the Hyundai Motor Company. Genesis took top overall in JD Power’s Innovation Ranking (although it was beaten by Tesla, that company does not share customer data and is therefore not eligible for prizes). Hyundai, meanwhile, was the top-performing brand on the mass market, with leading automakers such as Volvo, BMW and Land Rover.
However, GM also performed well in the test, with Cadillac finishing second in the innovation rankings. Buick and GMC, meanwhile, were in third and fourth place (after Hyundai and Kia) in the mass-market segment.
The TXI tested 35 automotive technologies divided into four categories: convenience; emerging automation; energy and sustainability; and infotainment and connectivity. The survey was based on responses from 84,165 owners of 2022 model year vehicles after 90 days of ownership.