High-tech features are becoming a big factor in new car sales, but as automakers rush to incorporate the latest and greatest in technology, not all of them are succeeding at the same rate.
According to JD Power’s 2022 Tech Experience Index (TXI) study, few aspects of a vehicle show as much variation between automakers as technology in terms of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). For example, the problem rate for rear seat reminder technologies ranges from 1.2 PP100 over 10 times, to 26.2 PP100 for the worst performing rear seat reminders.
This variation is important for an automaker because the risk of annoying customers with poor technology can be doubly debilitating, according to Kathleen Rizk, senior manager of user experience and technology benchmarking at JD Power. She says the risk of implementing a technology incorrectly can deter automakers from innovating.
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“JD Power’s transactional data shows that getting the right mix of technology features owners want is important to perception, profits and sales,” Rizk said. “When owners get the technology features they really want — and that meet their user experience expectations — the results are positive, and those owners tell their friends about the experience.”
Tech features have very high overall PP100 scores, in general, but fingerprint scanners, first included in the study in 2022, are the most problematic feature in TXI history. With users experiencing 54.3 issues per 100 experiences, it is now the feature with the lowest user satisfaction in the TXI, surpassing gesture controls. Indeed, many owners simply don’t want it in their vehicles, due to its poor performance, writes JD Power.
The research organization found, however, that dealerships demonstrating how a technology works, particularly if that technology is new, can have a big impact on customer satisfaction with the technology.
The brands that best implement all of these lessons seem to belong to the Hyundai Motor Company. Genesis ranked first in JD Power’s innovation rankings (although it was beaten by Tesla, this company does not share customer data and is therefore not eligible for awards). Hyundai, meanwhile, was the most successful mass-market brand, leading premium automakers like Volvo, BMW and Land Rover.
GM also performed well in the test, with Cadillac placing second overall in innovation. Buick and GMC, meanwhile, ranked third and fourth (behind 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 study was based on responses from 84,165 owners of model year 2022 vehicles after 90 days of ownership.