Smaller, cheaper electronics have been a boon for the auto industry, as car technology has boomed over the past few years. J.D. Power has been studying the tech trend, surveying over 19,000 potential car buyers to gauge interest in new tech like nav systems and infotainment systems. The powerful research company found that customers are now far more tech-savvy than they were in the past, and they're also very interested in adding new features to their next car purchase. That's great news for automakers, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly), many aren't interested in paying for the new features.

J.D. Powers found that 67% of those surveyed were interested in a navigation system. But when the average price of $1,600 was revealed, the number dropped to only 20%. Luxury buyers were a bit more interested, though only 45% of those surveyed would still opt for the interactive LCD. Cheaper off-board navigation services like On-Star or Ford's SYNC direction service weren't very good alternatives, either. Only one-third of those who were interested in navigation would go the off-board route, even though the systems have proven to be very effective and easy-to-use. We're guessing that part of the allure of the LCD nav is that it makes the whole dash look more high-end.

Customers are also very interested in utilizing their MP3 players in the car. Nearly two-thirds wanted the ability to listen to their music players in the car, while 27% wanted "smart phone" music connectivity. Of those who already use their music devices in their car, over half use an auxiliary jack, and 20% use an FM transmitter. Hit the jump to pour over the J.D. Power press release.

[Source: J.D. Power]


PRESS RELEASE:

J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Entertainment- and Connectivity-Related Technologies Garner High Levels of Interest
Among Consumers Planning to Buy a New Vehicle Soon

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 3 June 2009 - Among consumers who plan to purchase a vehicle in the near future, select entertainment- and connectivity-related features are among the most desired technologies for their consideration, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies StudySM released today.

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

The study finds that among consumers who plan to purchase a new vehicle within the next six months, interest levels are high for select entertainment- and connectivity-related features. For example, premium surround sound garners the highest interest rate among these near-term vehicle intenders (72%), while just 61 percent of consumers who plan on purchasing a new vehicle in two years or more indicate interest in this feature.

"Consumers nearing the final phase of the vehicle purchase process are often more well-versed on vehicle options and features than those in the early stages of shopping and likely have recently researched available vehicle specifications," said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates. "The increased familiarity of the possible benefits and conveniences of these technologies may lead to an increase in interest."

The study also finds that consumer interest in a navigation system is at 67 percent prior to the average market price being revealed, but falls to just 20 percent after the market price of $1,600 is known. However, among owners of premium vehicles, interest after the price is revealed is 45 percent.

Among those consumers who expressed interest in a navigation system, just one-third say they are interested in the lower-cost alternative of an off-board navigation system, which enables the driver to provide an address to a live operator and receive text or audible directions without a full-screen map integrated into a display within the vehicle.

"While the factory-installed options are considerably more expensive than an off-board navigation system, the price difference is not reflected in a proportionate decrease in consumer interest levels," said Marshall. "Among consumers who express interest in both types of navigation system, seven out of ten indicate they would choose a factory-installed navigation system rather than an off-board version-despite the cost premium."

The study also finds the following entertainment and connectivity patterns:

* Among consumers who listen to their portable digital music player in their vehicle, more than one-half use an auxiliary input jack, while approximately 20 percent use a wireless FM transmitter.
* Nearly two-thirds of consumers indicate that they would like the ability to listen to a portable digital music player through their vehicle's speakers, while 27 percent express a desire to use a smartphone's music capabilities in conjunction with their vehicle's audio system.
* Among consumers currently utilizing their vehicle's Bluetooth functionality, initial interest for a wireless connectivity system in their vehicle is 68 percent, compared with just 47 percent among those who have this feature but do not utilize this technology in their vehicle.

The 2009 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from 19,249 U.S. consumers. The study was fielded in April 2009.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2008 were $6.4 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.