HUD – Not a Favorite Among New Car Buyers

Continental HUD 08 2015

J.D. Power has released its DrIVE 2015 report that probes the driver experience for new features during the first 90 days of new car ownership. The results are quite surprising in that at least 20% of the new car owners have never used about half (16 out of 33) of the new features.

Source: Continental

To get this right, you buy a new car and within the first three months of ownership you are only using about half of all the bells and whistles you paid for in the first place? The top five of these “unused” features are:

  • in-vehicle concierge (43%);
  • mobile routers (38%)
  • automatic parking systems (35%)
  • head-up display (33%)
  • built-in apps (32%)

There are also 14 new technologies that 20 percent 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. It seems that the integrated car is not necessarily a good thing for a portion of potential buyers.

When JD Power asked buyers why they do not want these technologies in their next cars, they said they did not find the cited technologies particularly helpful or they just came with a package they ordered for other reasons.

The study also identified that those users that were not informed by their dealers about a specific function were most likely to never use that feature. This is also true for features that are not activated when the car is delivered. As a matter of fact, drivers do not even know that their vehicle has that particular function.

The study also found that users are more likely to be satisfied with features that enhance the driving experience and safety and which are only available as a built-in feature rather than via an external device.

On the other hand the report also points out that the use of more sensor technology is likely to increase the repair cost in case of an accident. While these technologies may lower the risk of an accident, the increase in repair costs may offset this advantage in the eyes of insurance companies.

Analyst Comment

This study is very interesting in that it shows that the integrated car full of additional sensors and other technologies is not necessarily what the consumer wants. Offering a Wi-Fi hotspot may sound great in an ad, but may not translate into higher car sales after all. J.D. Power also states that the number of features that the buyers do not want in a new car increases to 23 features for Gen Y customers.

We should not be too quick in dismissing new technologies such as the HUD based on this report. There was a much larger percentage of consumers that said they would never use a smartphone after the iPhone was available for two or three years. Look how that has changed. In addition 20% not using a technology could also mean that 80% are using the technology. This is not even a glass half empty versus half full issue.

More concerning for the HUD technology is that it seems that the users do not recognize this as a safety related technology, but look at it as a kind of app or technology gadget. Maybe the car makers have not got it right yet. – NH