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Auto Tech Has Strong Influence on Car-Buying Decision, Says New Study

February 26, 2015

In-car technologies like mobile phone connection and voice commands are desirable elements in most vehicles today. In fact, a recent study from J.D. Power shows that these technologies have a strong influence on the decision of buyers on whether to purchase a vehicle or not.

According to the 2015 US Vehicle Dependability Study released by J.D. Power on Wednesday, most car buyers still consider appearance and exterior design as top reasons they steer clear from purchasing a certain model. However, 15 percent of the respondents also mentioned that if a vehicle lacks the latest technology features they will not buy it. That is a significant increase from the four percent of respondents who said the same thing in the previous year.

The study also found that in-car technology issues affect the intent of buyers to repurchase. 56 percent of the respondents who have not encountered any problem with their in-car technologies said they will purchase the same brand the next time they need to buy.

Apart from the aforementioned data, the annual study also revealed that many vehicle owners still experience a number of issues with in-car technologies. The most common problem identified is malfunctioning Bluetooth and voice command systems. 55 percent of the surveyed drivers said their Bluetooth system is unable to recognize their phone after their cars reached the three-year mark, while 31 percent have trouble with their phone automatically connecting to their vehicle once they are inside.

Based on the responses of 34,000 respondents, J.D. Power’s latest annual dependability study ranked Lexus as the number one most dependable vehicle brand for the fourth consecutive year. Tailing it is General Motors’ Buick nameplate, while Toyota and Cadillac take the third and fourth place, respectively. Tied in the fifth place are Honda and Volkswagen AG’s Porsche.

Although Ford has been aggressive in its efforts to integrate new technologies in its vehicles, it failed to secure its 17th finish last year, tumbling eight places to the 25th spot. This is due in part to the issues it encountered back in 2012 during the launch of new version of its Focus line.

Still at the bottom of the dependability ranking is the Fiat nameplate of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

According to Renee Stephens, J.D. Power’s U.S. Automotive vice president, both carmakers and dealers should remain proactive in reaching out to their customers to better understand the technology problems their vehicles have and address them immediately. It is only by taking these steps that they will be able to engage with their customers in a positive manner and ensure that they will retain their loyalty.

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