Import brands BMW and Hyundai lead the luxury segment and the mass-market category respectively when it comes to how satisfied car buyers are with the technology in their vehicles, according to a new study by J.D. Power.
The study, the first one of its kind done by the research firm, measures by survey a vehicle owner’s interaction with the car’s technology during the first 90 days of ownership. The tech categories asked about include: entertainment and telematics/connectivity; navigation; smartphone connectivity; collision avoidance; driving assistance; comfort and convenience.
This kind of measurement is timely for the auto industry. The new frontier of competitive advantage among car companies is how much modern tech they offer, especially in the realm of safety and telematics, and how easy it is to use.
That BMW should lead among all luxury brands is ironic since the German company jumped out ahead of competitors in 2001 with its then-controversial i-Drive system, which employed a mouse-like device in the center console to control menu choices on the dashboard screen. On the other hand, by being a leader, BMW seems to have chalked up more learning in the area.
BMW models that rank highest in their respective segments are the 2 Series (small premium segment) and 4 Series (compact premium segment). Hyundai models that rank highest are the Genesis (midsize premium segment) and Tucson (small segment).
J.D. Power ranked seven categories, with the top three models in each identified. Of 21 vehicles ranked, only five were from Detroit. General Motors’ Chevy Camaro topped the Midsize car category. Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln MKC placed third among compact premium vehicles. GM’s Cadillac CTS ranked second in the midsize premium segment. And GM’s Chevy Silverado ranked second among large vehicles, and the mechanically similar GMC Sierra ranked third in the same category
Among all the tech being introduced to new vehicles, those that help mitigate the chance of collision have the highest usage and highest satisfaction, and they remain the technologies that buyers want most and are willing to pay for. These include blind-spot warnings, lane-keeping alerts and back-up cameras. On the downside, the systems customers complain about the most are navigation.