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2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study Results

By: Jeff Youngs, 5/5/2014
Purchasers of new vehicles are willing to pay for improved connectivity and increased automation in their vehicle, according to the just-published J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.SM The study measures vehicle owner interest and purchase intent regarding 61 emerging automotive technologies, both before and after they know the market price of those technologies. The two technologies with the highest consumer interest prior to revelation of the price are wireless connectivity systems (which create a communication link between electronic devices and the vehicle), and a device/application link (which allows viewing and controlling electronic devices and apps through the vehicle's factory-installed equipment). Autonomous driving mode and convenience features, such as wireless charging stations and near field communication (which allows a smartphone to control various vehicle functions), also receive strong interest.

Among the report's key findings:

Nearly one-fourth (24%) of respondents say they'd be interested in an autonomous driving mode in their next vehicle, even though the market price for such a feature is $3,000. That compares with 21% in 2013 and 20% in 2012. Continued exposure to, and experience with, such semi-autonomous features as fully autonomous parking systems, enhanced adaptive cruise control, and traffic jam assist are helping to gradually increase consumer awareness and trust in autonomous driving.

However, stable gasoline prices, along with improvements in fuel economy from today's vehicles, might be holding consumers back from making major investments in fuel-saving technologies. Lower-cost features that improve fuel economy through vehicle aerodynamics receive higher interest from consumers than more expensive features targeting engine fuel efficiencies and energy collection.

Convenience features, such as wireless charging stations, are of high interest to consumers, likely due to widespread daily use of connected smartphones and media devices in the vehicle. Other popular features include near-field communication?which allows use of a smartphone to control vehicle functions such as locking and unlocking, remote start, and opening trunk/tailgate--and a voice-activated personal assistant system.

Hand gesture-controlled cockpit is the technology with the lowest consumer interest both before and after the market price is revealed. This feature uses sensors to detect hand motions to control a variety of functions in the vehicle and has a market value of $1,000.

Opinions vary considerably as to what features are "must have" and which are "nice to have." For example, 60% of respondents indicate a wireless connectivity system should be standard equipment on the next vehicle they purchase, while only 23% indicate the same about device/application link.

"Smartphone ownership has increased to 70% in 2014, and consumers want the same connectivity in their vehicle as they are used to getting from their smartphone, computer or tablet," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. "Device/Application link enables the vehicle to replicate the display of a device on the vehicle's screen while managing the device through the vehicle's controls, which is why consumers want--and are willing to pay--to have that technology."

Before being shown price, 83% of vehicle owners surveyed expressed interest in wireless connectivity systems, which create a communication link between electronic devices and the vehicle, yet that figure drops to 55% when consumers see the $300 price tag. However, 79% of respondents indicated that they'd pay $250 for a device/application link, which allows viewing and controlling electronic devices and apps through the vehicle's factory-installed equipment.

Other technologies owners are most willing to pay for in their next vehicle include surround-view/rear-vision camera system ($550); active shutter grille vents ($150); wireless charging station ($75); advanced accident notification system ($25/month); and smartphone navigation vehicle interface ($100).

About the Study
The 2014 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from 15,171 vehicle owners. The study measures vehicle owner interest and purchase intent regarding 61 emerging automotive technologies in 13 categories, ranging from collision protection to visibility enhancements, both before and after the market price is known. The study was fielded in February and March 2014. It includes an assessment of six consumer groupings, which could facilitate the targeting of technology interests across consumer segments.

Additional Research:

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