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J.D. Power and Associates asked 19,000 potential car buyers what they want and what they're willing to pay for. Safety is apparently on the minds of many, with blind spot detection and backup assist taking the top two spots. But once consumers were told blind spot detectors would cost as much as $500, the device fell to No. 4 on the list, while a $300 backup assist jumped to No. 1. And a majority (73%) put in-dash navigation as No. 3 in popularity, but when told they'd have to pay an estimated $1,800 for it, it falls way down to No. 18. Hear that OEMs? Cheap nav is on a bunch of people's wish list.

With gas prices at record highs, 72% of the respondents said they were "probably interested" in a hybrid powertrain and 23% were "definitely interested." When told the system would add $5,000 to the cost of their ride, though, hybrids fall from fifth place to No. 8. Disappointingly, clean diesel technology comes in at the very bottom of the list with only 37% saying they would probably be interested.

We spoke with Mike Marshall, Director of Automotive Emerging Technology at JD Power, who said he was disappointed in the clean diesel interest but not really surprised. "We knew it wouldn't do that well," Marshall said. "One of the biggest things working against diesel is where people are coming from."

Hit the jump to read the rest of our interview and to view the full press release by J.D. Power and Associates.

UPDATE: We spoke to Mike Marshall, not Chris, and the survey queried 19,000 people, not 1,900. We've updated the post to reflect the corrections.

[Source: J.D. Power]

To change the general public's idea that diesels are smoke-belching, noisy powerplants, Marshall said it will take a couple of things. "One thing is increased product offerings,". Another is an effort from OEMs and tier 1 suppliers to educate the public on the positives of clean diesel.

So what's the next big thing in automotive technology? Marshall said he sees safety retaining a top spot in shoppers' minds. "Collision mitigation will be big in the next five years," he said. "That's the culmination of blind spot, backup, lane departure used to avoid or prepare for an accident." But what he doesn't see is a clear winner in the powertrain war. "There's to much technology out there, too much R&D" to pick a winner."

Click on the above graphic for larger image.


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 24 June 2008 -Hybrid-electric powertrain technology in vehicles garners
particularly high interest among consumers both before and after the average market price ($5,000) is revealed,
according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies StudySM released

The study is designed to measure consumer familiarity, interest and purchase intent for emerging automotive
technologies both before and after an estimated market value is revealed.

The study finds that before the market price is revealed, 72 percent of consumers say they are
"definitely/probably" interested in having hybrid-electric technology in their next new vehicle. This marks a
considerable increase from the 2005 study, when 58 percent of consumers reported they were
"definitely/probably" interested in the technology. Additionally, after the average price point of $5,000 is revealed,
consumer interest remains relatively high at 46 percent in 2008.

"High consumer interest in hybrid-electric powertrain technology may be reflective of not only rising gas prices
but also a heightened effort among consumers to be more environmentally conscious," said Mike Marshall,
director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates. "Clean diesel technology, however,
garners relatively low interest in comparison. One explanation for this may derive from a lack of education with
the technology. Many consumers cannot differentiate between clean diesel and traditional diesel fuel-which in
the past had a negative connotation with unpleasant vehicle emissions. As consumers become more educated in
the benefits of clean diesel through increased product offers launching later this year, interest in the technology
may increase."

Prior to revealing the average market price, the study also finds that consumer interest is highest for blind spot
detection (76%); backup assist (74%); and navigation systems (73%) before the average market price is revealed.
After revealing the average market price, interest is highest in backup assist (68%); active cornering headlight
systems (65%); and wireless connectivity systems (53%).

"Wireless connectivity, in particular, makes a considerable jump in the rankings after the average price point of
$200 is revealed," said Marshall. "Consumer interest is likely heightened by the fact that more states may prohibit
the use of cell phones while driving. Wireless connectivity will potentially become a necessity rather than a
luxury as time goes on."

The study also finds the following key patterns:
• Among consumers who indicate that they are not interested in a rear-seat entertainment system, more than
30 percent indicate such because they do not transport passengers in their rear seats on a regular basis.
• Among consumers who say they are not interested in a collision mitigation system-which is an
automated safety system that monitors external conditions around the vehicle and warns the driver using
visual, physical and audible cues of a potential collision before automatically applying the braking system,
tightening seat belts and moving the driver's seat into the optimal crash position-one of four say they
either do not want to give up control of the vehicle, or that they are waiting for the technology to improve
before purchasing it.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think it's scary that what most people want are things that enable them to pay less attention to what they're doing when they drive.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesel will go to #1 when people realize the mileage gains they can get (huge) versus the price disparity from gasoline (small).
        • 7 Years Ago
        Diesel will go to #1 when it is over advertised to the public through MTV commercials, when obnoxious teen "star" nobodies start showing up in them to events, or athletes figure out how to put 13 televisions and a hot tub in one.

        That's how the SUV market picked up so quickly amongst the group of people who didn't even know you could hook up a trailer or plow to one, since they only needed it to go to the mall or to accent their oversized sunglasses and furry boots.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Diesel will go #1 never.

        Diesel engines get what? 20-30% better efficiency, diesel gas in California is about 20-30% more expensive at the few stations you can find it at.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Clean diesel is just another hydrocarbon patch, a way to stretch oil, when the only real solution is hydrogen. Why keep dickin around with last century's technology???? Every time another hydrocarbon idea gets pushed to the forefront is just putting that real solution that much farther into the future.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I've got a hydrogen well I can sell you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I love hydrogen fuel. Where can I get some?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Heh I wonder when we'll be able to engine-swap hydrogen engines and trannies etc into former gas cars :P
      • 7 Years Ago
      Diesel smells,it's nausiating.the smell lingers.It's cancerous.The engines sound like a can of marbles.They're sooty.Noisy.Dirty.
      That's the downside

        • 7 Years Ago
        heres a video from honda on their diesel.
        granted this video is 5yrs old. the next gen is gonna be amazing.

        well worth the watch.

        "a low compression ratio of 16.7 to 1" haha
        • 7 Years Ago
        J M C 3 - I just don't think you're cut out to be a diesel driver. I recommend that when they become available you don't buy one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      eric4ok ....

      thats the point !!!!!!!!!!
      The world's automakers are ready to produce either internal combustion hydrogen powered vehicle (been around since the seventies) or fuel cell ... see the new Honda Clarity with a range of 270 - can go 100mph - and get an equivalent 74mpg.

      As Bob Lutz said America is simply not serious about producing a hydrogen infrastructure so we will make electric vehicles. Dumb and Dumber!!!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wait a minute... the Clarity has a range of 270 miles while getting an equivalent of 74mpg? So it holds the equivalent hydrogen fuel to 3.6 gallons of gas?

        Sounds like they have a lot of work to do in the compression department before I'm remotely interested in that.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Eh, I just got back from a few weeks in Spain and had a diesel Peugeot while there. I did not like the way it drove at all. Maybe it was just a small engine but with a low 4500 rpm redline, and lots of twisty, turny (fun to drive) mountain roads, I found myself constantly having to shift to keep in the powerband. It also tended to bog and was not as responsive as a gas engine (ok, maybe that was a crappy throttle and/or Peugeot engineering heh).

      Yeah, it's just one example, but it was a pain.
        • 7 Years Ago
        exactly, diesels have much lower redline and deliver top torque at much lower rpm than comparable petrol. They need to be driven differently, most people can't drive diesels properly, not even in Europe. Black smoke always suggest the car is being overdriven.

        as for clean diesel, they have lower CO emissions, but what about NO?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Someone explain to me why an in-dash nav system would cost $1800, while a TomTom standalone cost a fraction of that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        No reason at all. It's the same reason your factory head unit probably cost 3 to 4 times more than a name brand head unit with the same or better features/functions.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I wonder if any of the questions were 'less weight' and 'slightly smaller' and 'a bit lower'.

      Seems like almost any new car is huge, fat, and tall. I park next to new stuff in my SVX, and they just feel like monster trucks.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I agree, I am tired of seeing fat cars. I know it is mainly because of safety regulations, but I would rather pay more for a lighter, better handling car.

        I really like the look of low rooflines (I drive a lowered 240sx). The only real problem I have with a low car is that roads in general suck around here and it gets bumpy (coilovers). But I figure if I can take turns faster, and not have to accelerate as much, I am saving gas, not to mention the possible savings from having les wind flow under the car (although probably very minute). I can stop better, menuever better, etc. So I am in a way safer because I can avoid crashes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I want all the bells and whistles that modern technology can provide... unless of course I have to actually pay for them, then forget it! A car that gets 45-50 miles per gallon and I have to look behind me BEFORE I back up? No thanks, not interested.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I have a car with a 52 mpg rating and backup sensors, premium hi-fi, heated seats and a clean diesel engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Funny how the hydrogen powered future is always just another decade away ... yup in another 10 years ... just another 10 years ... by 2030 etc. Makes my 'conspiracy antenna quiver. Yes, the Clarity is a limited production rolling test bed untilizing the very latest in fuel cell tech. The economy of scale (mass produced) alone will bring the cost down. Again why do that when there are only 3 hydrogen refueling stations in a huge State like California and only one in the "Motor City" that belongs to Ford. That being said, it is beyond me why the country that developed the atom bomb in under three years can't get this done.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Personally, I could do just fine without anything on that list.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Clean diesel at the bottom of the list???

      Americas perfect car:
      a) 16 cupholders
      b) in-dash nav so you don't have to think or reach for a map
      c) auto tranny, preferably one that only has "D" cause we hate changing gears
      d) 8 litre engine to move our fat asses from 0-60 in 5 seconds

      This is why Europeans have the better cars, North Americans are stupid.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Have you driven much in Europe? They want it because they need it.
        • 7 Years Ago
        they may have nav in europe, but I bet if you asked them what was more important, nav would be at the bottom of the list and a clean diesel that offers superior mileage at the top.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "This is why Europeans have better cars and North Americans' are stupid"

        I cant tell you how much that angers me, why people want to make these blanket statements I have no idea. I honestly not going to dignify this with a longer response. I just hope that some people learn some humility, and learn not to make such statements.
        • 7 Years Ago
        And we want it because why?

        They have maps in Europe. They would prefer to use Sat-Nav. It's the same way in the US.

        Sam is being ridiculous slamming Americans for something and then saying they should be like Europeans when they want the same thing.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The Focus is offered with Sat-Nav in Europe.

        Why do you try to make out Americans as idiots by mentioning they want the same things Europeans want?
        • 7 Years Ago
        is it really a surprise that Americans want innovations that require less thinking?
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