Despite Improved Tech, Consumers Still Aren’t Connecting
New cars have more tech and standard features than ever before. Once reserved for luxury models, premium connectivity features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now common in budget-conscious vehicles across the market. With more power comes more responsibility, at least for tech support agents in this case, as buyers don’t always stay happy with their new vehicle’s tech after using it for a while. That’s the main takeaway from the recently published J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study. In conducting the study, J.D. Power surveyed 110,827 purchasers and lessees of new 2021 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership.
Consumer demands for more and better tech are a double-edged sword for automakers, as the execution must be solid to avoid issues down the road. J.D. Power finds that features such as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are high on the list of desired features in new vehicles. Still, as more automakers deliver on those requests, buyers experience more problems. J.D. Power measures problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) for the study. Cars equipped with wireless smartphone interfaces experience 7.1 PP100, while those without see just 4.0 PP100.
Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive quality at J.D. Power, sees that automakers are making progress. “Smartphone mirroring has shown to be a source of problems for several years now but has become more problematic this year with the growing ability to wirelessly connect the feature on a number of vehicles,” he said. “Fortunately, the top tech companies and automakers have the ability to generate demand for new or upgraded technologies while troubleshooting current issues as the rollout continues.”
Even with the addition of cutting-edge features, some automakers have fared better than others. The top-performing models in each segment are as follows:
- Small/Compact Car: Nissan Sentra (second consecutive year)
- Small/Compact Premium Car: BMW 4 Series
- Midsize/Large Car: Nissan Maxima
- Midsize/Large Premium: Cadillac Escalade and Chevrolet Corvette
J.D. Power is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on November 11, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.