On the outside, many smartphones look the same. Sure, some consumers will customize their phone with a unique case or screen protector, but a smart phone’s individuality is not about what’s on the outside, it’s the inside that makes each phone unique. Regardless of the brand of smartphone, users can pick from a plethora of apps, both free and premium, to customize their smartphone to their needs. Even though cars on the road are looking more and more alike on the outside, the inside has evolved significantly. In fact, vehicles are now beginning to resemble smartphones, where a vehicle’s color and brand have taken a backseat to the technology that vehicle offers.
As vehicle technology becomes more important, it is valuable to take a look at the options that drivers value most. Recently, AutoPacific conducted a study to determine the most popular options. As you might expect, the top options are mainly related to comfort. A power driver’s seat, heated front seat, active blind-spot detection, and easy-to-clean seat and floor materials make up the top four desired options. When it comes to technology, many of the most desired options are decidedly low tech. USB ports, voice-activated controls, and Bluetooth were among the most identified by consumers.
Since many options come in packages, which forces the customer to pay for options they may otherwise do without, they may be paid for and unused. According to a recent JD Power and Associates study, “The report finds that at least 20 percent of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features owners most commonly report that they “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); heads-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).”
While a vehicle’s technology may be a top selling point, some built-in technologies may not be as attractive as you might think. Kristin Kolodge, the Executive Director of Driver Interaction and HMI Research at JD Power, concluded the following from the study, “In many cases, owners simply prefer to use their smartphone or tablet because it meets their needs; they’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate. In-vehicle connectivity technology that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers.”
Technology changes and evolves at an alarming rate, which can be overwhelming for consumers. There is often a learning curve for new technology and many would prefer to stick to what they know. As a result, in-vehicle technology goes unused and quickly becomes out-of-date. To save money and hassle for consumers, a vehicle that caters to individual preferences is the best possible option.