September 22, 2006

European consumers want navigation systems until price is revealed, says J.D. Power

Westlake Village, California – Before the market price is revealed, navigation systems are the most desired automotive technology among European consumers, according to a survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study, which examines consumer awareness and future demand for 14 automotive technologies across Germany and the U.K., found that 75 per cent of European consumers express high interest in navigation systems. However, as one of the most expensive technologies included in the study, they are also among the least-favoured after the mid-point price is revealed, illustrating the effect price has on a consumer’s intent to actually purchase a technology.

Backup assist is the second-most desired before the price is revealed, and garners the highest percentage of consumers who are “definitely/probably” interested after the mid-point price is revealed. Consumers also expressed considerable interest in other vehicle-sensing features such as active cornering headlight systems and blind spot detection.

“Although high interest in navigation systems is pretty solid among consumers in both the U.K. and Germany, familiarity and interest with other technologies can vary greatly among the two countries,” says Mike Marshall, director of automotive product and quality research at J.D. Power. “Rear-seat entertainment systems, for example, are the third-most recognized technology in the U.K., whereas in Germany the technology ranks eighth on the awareness chart.”

The study also found that German consumers are more likely to be interested in the emerging technologies than U.K. consumers, with the exception of HD radio, rear-seat entertainment systems and satellite radio. In a mock shopping exercise, where respondents were given a fixed sum of money to spend, more than one-half of Germans selected emerging technologies such as backup assist and active cornering headlight systems, while U.K. consumers preferred to add more established features such as a multiple CD changer. U.K. consumers were also considerably less likely to spend additional money on optional features.

Technology for which consumer awareness is low in both Germany and the U.K. include satellite radio, blind spot detection, and personal assistance services, such as airbag deployment notification and remote door unlock. The study was based on responses from more than 4,000 new-vehicle owners.

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