Auto Service World
News   December 23, 2003   by Auto Service World

Technology Lures Car Buyers, but There’s a Limit

According the a survey of U.S. buyers by J.D. Power and Associates, high tech features are high on the list of things consumers want, but they don’t always want to pay for them or understand what they do.
Five high-tech automotive features prompt consumers to consider purchasing new motor vehicles, according to the study.
Among technologies included in the study, adaptive headlights (about $100 U.S.), anti-whiplash seats ($300 U.S.), a brake-by-wire system ($400 U.S.), heated/cooled seats ($700 U.S.) and electronic stability control ($600 U.S.) were given high levels of consideration by consumers asked about prospective motor vehicle purchases, Power officials said.
Consumers also expressed strong interest in night-vision devices and sensors that detect objects in blind spots. However, Power said, consumers balked when informed that prices for those systems run $1,500 U.S. and up.
Despite the fact that electronic stability control (ESC) is available on more than 120 new vehicles, Power said consumer awareness of it is low, with fewer than 10 percent indicating that they were familiar with the technology. Power cited the fact that ESC is marketed under more than 10 different names.
“This causes confusion in the marketplace as consumers aren’t sure what to request on their next vehicle,” said Melissa Sauter, director of automotive emerging technologies at Power. “More than nine in 10 current electronic stability control owners in this year’s study are interested in purchasing the technology on their next vehicle.”

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