Large variation in the number of questions

In some cases, the study showed wide variability in the number of specific technology issues.

JD Power has discovered a feature that reminds the driver that there are people, pets or luggage in the rear of the vehicle when the driver exits the vehicle. This ranged from 1.9 to 26.2 per 100 vehicles, depending on the manufacturer.

According to JD Power, this disparity indicates that the technology works and results in fewer complaints when done correctly.

With features such as backseat reminders receiving varying scores, Rizk said automakers need to better benchmark their new tech offerings.

“This could help us identify and consolidate best practices,” she said.

Automakers regularly benchmark their competitors’ technology, but Rizk said they typically use an engineering perspective rather than a consumer perspective.

“We often see technology that is designed to specifications but fails to meet customer expectations,” she says.

Highest scoring new tech features

Phone-based digital keys are one example of a new technology that gets a high execution score.

Rizk said:

On the other hand, the study found the fingerprint reader feature to be the least performing technology. They documented over 54 problems per 100 vehicles.

But automakers are introducing more biometric features like fingerprint, face and voice recognition to personalize and unlock vehicles, start engines and authorize payments.

“Early iterations of this technology that fingerprint readers may not be the strongest approach from a user’s perspective,” Rizk said.

Dealer Education Improves Ownership Experience

The study shows how dealers can improve the ownership experience by spending more time educating customers, JD Power said. The study found that owners scored higher for new tech features when they received training from a dealer rather than an outside source or owner’s manual.

But Rizk said there is so much technology in new cars these days that it’s hard for dealers to see all the features.

“It is therefore important for automakers to work with dealers to prioritize which technologies need to be covered during the delivery process,” she said.


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