J.D. Power Releases Results of 2021 TXI Study

Chris Teague | Oct 06, 2021

J.D. Power has released the results of its 2021 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, which measures how effectively automakers bring new technologies to market. The study looks at adoption (how many owners use the tech) and execution, which measures owners’ opinions of the tech in their new vehicles.

2021 Lexus IS F Sport Silver Front Quarter View Action

Among other things, the survey finds that some owners don’t see a use for certain vehicle features. When it comes to in-vehicle digital market tech, 61 percent say they don’t use it. In-vehicle passenger communications tools fare similarly, with 52 percent of respondents saying they have never used them.

Technologies can endear owners to their vehicles, but they must align with what buyers want. The stakes of a miss in this arena are high. “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,” said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of human machine interface at J.D. Power. “The TXI research quantifies the benefits when there is an alignment between what owners truly want and what the automakers produce.”

Highlights from the 2021 TXI Study include:

  • Dealers can make or break the tech experience before customers leave the lot. The study finds that when dealers take the time to demonstrate a vehicle’s features, owners are more engaged and use them. The study also shows a more than 10-percent improvement in satisfaction for features such as trailering assistance tech when dealers explain and demonstrate. That said, owners are more than twice as likely to hear about vehicle tech from someone other than a dealer.
  • Some tech doesn’t jive with buyers. Features such as hand-gesture controls cause problems for owners. While gesture controls are a novelty and can be fun for kids, they don’t add value to the user experience. However, one-pedal driving in electric vehicles (EVs) is a highly-rated feature.
  • Tech resonates differently with global buyers. The TXI study was also conducted in China, and though 21 of the same technologies are included, owners rate them differently in the two countries. Rearview mirror camera systems are a great example of this. In the United States, owners give the feature high marks, but in China, they have plenty of problems with the tech.

As in the APEAL Study, J.D. Power does not give Tesla an official score in the TXI Study. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in 15 states where it is required. However, J.D. Power gives the EV manufacturer an unofficial score based on survey responses from verified Tesla owners in the other 35 states. That said, the automaker scores well, with an Innovation Index score of 668 out of 1,000.

Several auto brands score well in the TXI StudyGenesis ranks highest overall in the premium segment with an Innovation Index score of 634. Cadillac ranks second with a score of 551, Volvo is third at 550, BMW fourth at 545, and Mercedes-Benz at fifth with 523. Hyundai (519), Kia (510), and Nissan (502) sit atop the mass-market brand rankings.

The TXI Study covers 36 technologies divided into four areas: convenience, emerging automation, energy and sustainability, and infotainment and connectivity.

Individual model highlights are as follows:

  • The Cadillac Escalade and Ram 1500 earn the convenience award for their camera rearview mirror tech.
  • The Lexus IS and Hyundai Elantra earn emerging automation awards. The IS takes home an award for its reverse automatic braking tech, and the Elantra earns an award for front cross-traffic warning tech.
  • The Lexus IS and Kia K5 earn awards for infotainment and connectivity. Both models are recognized for their virtual assistant connectivity to vehicle technology.

The 2021 U.S. TXI Study is based on responses from 110,827 verified owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles whom J.D. Power surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study was fielded from February through July 2021.

J.D. Power is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on October 6, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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