Interest in automotive technology varies across brands, customer segments

auto technologyTechnology plays a larger role than ever before in customers’ selection of vehicles, and interest in technology cuts across drivers of different car brands just as it cuts across generations.

However, as with age, certain trends can be seen when viewed overall.

Specifically, drivers of non-premium brands tend to show less interest in technology than premium drivers, primarily due to price considerations, according to J.D. Power & Associates data.

Among non-premium brands, drivers of Honda, Mitsubishi, Ford and Volkswagen showed the most interest in technology as part of their driving experience. On the opposite side of the coin, drivers of MINI, Subaru, Mazda and Kia showed the least interest in in-vehicle technology.

For premium brands, Audi, BMW and Cadillac drivers showed the most interest in technology on average, while drivers of Volvo, Lincoln, Infiniti and Lexus showed the least.

Of course, “technology” may well have different meaning to different categories of drivers.

J.D. Power compiled a list of “premium” technology features in cars, and then asked non-premium and premium drivers which were of interest to them. In all cases, premium drivers showed more interest in the features, often, as mentioned, because of price.

The five items where interest diverged least between premium and non-premium drivers follow. The percentage after each item indicates the differential between the two groups:

  1. Near field communication ($200) – 1 percent
  2. Solar glass roof ($2,000) – 2 percent
  3. Cylinder deactivation ($200) – 4 percent
  4. Device/application link ($150) – 4 percent
  5. Active wheel shutters ($150) – 4 percent

The items where interest diverged the most between premium and non-premium drivers follow. Again, the percentage indicates the difference in interest between premium and non-premium drivers:

  1. Hand gesture activated door ($200) – 17 percent
  2. Enhanced collision mitigation system ($750) – 16 percent
  3. Blind spot detection and prevention ($1,000) – 15 percent
  4. Lane departure prevention system ($500) – 14 percent
  5. Smart intersection ($400) – 14 percent
  6. Vehicle communication system ($750) – 14 percent

A challenge facing the auto industry is that, for the population as a whole, those most interested in technology skew younger and tend to be least able to afford the bells and whistles. However, this J.D. Power data indicates that the ability to afford technology and interest in that technology tend to correlate closely.

– Philip Ryan

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