A Mercedes-Benz in-vehicle infotainment screen is seen during the 85th International Motor Show on March 3, 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Cunningham, Harold—Getty Images
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
August 25, 2015

Today’s new cars come with all sorts of high-tech systems “infotainment”, parking assistance and heads-up displays, but a recent report from J.D. Power says a significant portion of consumers don’t use them.

On Tuesday, the marketing research firm released its Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report, detailing the habits of drivers in the first 90 days of new car ownership. The study found at least 20% of drivers never used 16 of the 33 features in question. Vehicle concierge, mobile routers, automatic parking, heads-up displays, and built-in apps led the list of superfluous automotive tech bogging down the driving experience. Considering the effort automakers put into these technologies, that’s significant money left on the table, especially since unused features may be outdated if and when they arrive at their second owner.

According to Kristin Kolodge, a J.D. Power executive director of driver interaction & HMI research, many drivers would rather use their phones and tech they already know. The most common reason cited for abandoning a tech feature? “Did not find it useful.”

Since many of these consumers told J.D. Power the technology “came as part of a package on my current vehicle and I did not want it,” it’s not just the carmakers that are losing out—a fifth of consumers are paying for these things they just don’t use. It’s costing everybody millions.

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