December 5, 2002

DVD-based navigation systems outperform CD-ROM systems in survey

Westlake Village, California – The navigation systems supplied by Alpine for the Acura RL and by Denso for the Lexus GS Sedan both rank highest in overall customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study released on Wednesday.

This is the first time in the four-year history of the study that two companies have tied for the highest ranking. The study focuses on overall navigation system satisfaction based on performance and layout as well as system design and integration in particular vehicle models.

“The common product characteristics among the top performers include DVD-based technology combined with accurate, quick and user-friendly operating systems,” said Frank Forkin, partner and an executive director at J.D. Power and Associates. “In fact, all of the top-rated navigation systems use DVD-based technology, while those below industry average are all based on CD-ROM platforms.”

DVD-based navigation systems typically offer greater geographic coverage, more detailed points-of-interest information and calculate routes faster than CD-ROM-based systems.

“The systems that don’t fare well in customer satisfaction also either tend to be too complicated, too slow, are inaccurate, or have monitors that are too small and lack the desired detail,” Forkin said. “In fact, the navigation system in the new BMW 7 Series is difficult to operate, according to owners. Those systems that are easiest to operate tend to be the same systems that are used most often, increasing the perceived value of the system.”

Less than 3 percent of owners believe their navigation system creates dangerous driving situations. However, some owners agree that entering a destination into their system while driving is distracting.

“The majority of owners whose system has the function that prevents a destination to be entered while the vehicle is moving do not like this feature, and younger owners are much more adamant in their dissatisfaction,” Forkin said. “Additionally, many owners believe this function is more of a hassle than a safety feature, given that on occasion, systems may freeze up or provide inaccurate directions.”

More than one-half of new vehicle owners use their navigation system at least once or twice a week. The study finds that younger owners are much more likely to use their navigation system on a regular basis than are their older counterparts.

Owners indicate that they most frequently use their navigation system to find residential/business addresses or routes to unfamiliar locations, to estimate the time of arrival at their destination and for work-related travel. Owners most often use their system’s points-of-interest feature for locating restaurants, gas stations, hotels, airports, shopping and banks/automated teller machines.

More than 88 percent of current owners “definitely” or “probably” would recommend a system like theirs to others. In addition to being navigation system advocates, nearly two-thirds of current owners indicate future vehicle purchase decisions will be influenced by a navigation system option.

The number of models on which navigation systems are offered as an optional or standard feature continues to grow. More than 60 models now offer navigation systems, and the total number of new vehicles that include navigation systems sold in the U.S. has nearly doubled in the past year to an estimated 300,000 up from 175,000 in 2001.

The 2002 Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study includes responses from more than 5,000 owners who recently purchased or leased vehicles with factory-installed navigation systems.

Connect with