While new-vehicle technology is a leading reason why buyers choose one vehicle over another, many new vehicles are equipped with some features that they want no part of, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study.
This ends up being costly to automakers and buyers alike.
“New-vehicle prices are at an all-time high, partly as a result of an increased level of content,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power. “This is fine if owners are getting value for their money, but some features seem like a waste to many owners.”
The study finds that, for more than one in three advanced technologies, fewer than half of owners have used the technology in the first 90 days of ownership. Non-users most often say they don’t need these technologies. For example, 61 per cent of owners say they have never used the in-vehicle digital market technology, and 51 per cent of those saying they have no need for it. Owners feel similarly about the driver/passenger communication technology, with 52 per cent saying they have never used the technology, and 40 per cent of those saying they have no need for it.
When technology is effectively executed in a vehicle, it positively influences an owner’s decision to purchase another vehicle equipped with that technology. The highest execution scores in the study are for camera rear-view mirror and ground view camera, both of which are ranked among the top three by owners wanting them on their next vehicle.
“J.D. Power has a wealth of transactional data showing that automakers suffer a hit to profits and sales velocity if they build the wrong mix of features on their vehicles,” Kolodge said. “The TXI research quantifies the benefits when there is alignment between what owners truly want and what the automakers produce.”
Following are key findings of the 2021 study:
- Dealers can influence how owners feel about value of technology: Dealer demonstrations at delivery are instrumental in keeping owners engaged with emerging technologies. For example, for safe exit assist technology, owners can get a very strong understanding of the system when they learn it from a dealer. Without dealer education, however, owners often do not fully understand the technology and its value, presenting a challenge for its overall acceptance. Similarly, when a dealer demonstrates trailer assistance technology, satisfaction improves to 8.69 (on a 10-point scale) compared with 7.83 for learning from an outside source. However, owners are more than twice as likely to learn about this technology from an outside source (71 per cent) than from a dealer (30 per cent).
- Some technologies make driving experience better, while others do not: Many owners indicate poor performance with interior gesture controls technology, which responds to hand motions instead of touch. Owners of this feature indicate an extremely high 41 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). This technology also has the lowest overall satisfaction score in the study for a second consecutive year. In contrast, one-pedal driving technology offered in some electric vehicles receives very high satisfaction levels and owners cite relatively few problems (8 PP100).
- Tech desires not always transferable across global markets:D. Power TXI studies for the United States and China include 21 of the same advanced and emerging technologies, but scores for owner satisfaction vary by country. While camera rear-view mirror technology receives high scores in the United States, owners in China have the most problems (18 PP100) with this technology. For ground view camera technology, 62 per cent of U.S. owners say they “definitely will” want the technology again, while only 24 per cent of owners in China say the same.
The 2021 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study is based on responses from 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded from February through July 2021.
For more information about the U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, visit