The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study analyzed how car buyers use – and feel about – vehicle technologies. The insights can help dealerships identify different strategies and talking points to focus on during the sales process, and understand the value of having consumers who are satisfied with their in-car tech.

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. TXI Study

According to the latest study from J.D. Power, consumers' overall satisfaction with vehicle technology is up across the board. In total, satisfaction reached 765 for owners of mass market cars and 766 for owners of luxury vehicles on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale. These represent increases of 15 points and 16 points, respectively, from 2017.

The study aims to measure how car owners use, interact with, and feel about 38 driver-centric in-vehicle technologies after owning their cars for 90 days. J.D. Power lumps these tech features into the following categories: smartphone mirroring, navigation, entertainment and connectivity, comfort and convenience, collision protection, and driving assistance. Consumer satisfaction increased in each of these categories year-over-year, with scores in comfort and convenience improving the most.

Here are the individual models that achieved the highest levels of tech satisfaction in each vehicle segment:

  • Small: Hyundai Kona
  • Compact: Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Compact Premium: Kia Stinger
  • Mid-size: Kia Optima
  • Mid-size Premium: Lincoln MKX
  • Large: Ford Expedition

This is the third year of the J.D. Power U.S. TXI Study, which is based on responses from a survey of 20,000 owners and lessees. The awards are based on 14,800 respondents who bought or leased a new 2018 model year vehicle in the 90 days prior to the survey mailing. Vehicles included in the study had to either be redesigned within the past three years or brand new models.

Smartphone Integration Trends

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the two primary smartphone mirroring systems for in-car infotainment units. J.D. Power's study found that both systems are gaining popularity at a rapid pace, and are quickly becoming "must haves" for many car buyers. Apple CarPlay slightly edged out Android Auto in terms of overall satisfaction by a margin of 777 to 748 on J.D. Power's scale.

How Car Buyers that are Satisfied with Vehicle Technology Help Your DealershipDealer tip: It's clear that your sales team should be highlighting which vehicles have these smartphone integration systems. These features are only a few years old now, and have already become widely popular as well as preferred over most automakers' infotainment systems. It's also a good idea to be able to properly teach car buyers and new owners about how to effectively use these systems. The study shows that 62 percent of car owners with Apple CarPlay and 67 percent with Android Auto are learning how to use these features outside of a dealership.

Active Safety Feature Update

J.D. Power also looked at if and how frequently car owners are using the various advanced active safety features that have become increasingly common these days. Here are the survey results based on the range of owners that say they use a system "every time they drive":

  • Lane Keeping Assist: 46 to 67 percent.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control: 16 to 42 percent.
  • Voice Recognition Systems: 10 to 29 percent.

Dealer tip: The results indicate that consumers can be turned off or bothered by these advanced safety systems, but safety studies have shown how effective they are at reducing crashes, injuries, and even deaths. If your team believes in the benefits of certain active safety features, they need to be able to better explain their value and how to use them to prospective buyers and owners. Showing these features in action on a test drive may be the best way to demonstrate their effectiveness.

In-Car Technology Satisfaction Leads to Advocacy

J.D. Power's insights on in-vehicle technology should matter to your dealership because their study shows a strong correlation between consumer satisfaction and advocacy. Per the survey, 94 percent of owners who expressed they were highly satisfied with the tech in their car (a satisfaction score of 900 and higher) said they "definitely will" recommend their vehicle to friends and family. These recommendations have obvious value for your store, so it appears that making sure your customers are satisfied with their in-car technologies should be a priority.

At the same time, if you're looking for consumers that generate positive word of mouth, it doesn't get much better than subprime car buyers. These consumers are looking for a dealer that can get them financed at a time when they feel down and out of the game. If your store is the one to get them approved, surely they'll have positive things to tell their family and friends.

Auto Credit Express wants to help your dealership. Our special finance leads can help you get serious buyers sent to your store, and our other dealer products and services can help you gain an edge on the competition. Call us today at 888-535-2277 to learn more, or you can fill out the contact form on our website and we'll reach out to you.