Westlake Village, California – Entertainment- and connectivity-related features are among the most desired technologies among consumers who plan to purchase a vehicle in the near future, according to a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The 2009 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study measures consumer familiarity, interest and purchase intent for emerging automotive technologies, both before and after an estimated market price is revealed.

The study found 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. Premium surround sound had the highest rate of interest, at 72 per cent, while only 61 per cent of consumers planning to purchase within two years or more indicated interest in the 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. “The increased familiarity of the possible benefits and conveniences of these technologies may lead to an increase in interest.”

The study found that consumer interest in a navigation system is at 67 per cent before the average market price is revealed, but falls to just 20 per cent when consumers are told the price is $1,600. However, among owners of premium vehicles, interest after the price is revealed is 45 per cent. Among those who express interest in a navigation system, only one-third 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.

The study also found that nearly two-thirds of consumers would like the ability to listen to a portable digital music player through the vehicle’s speakers, while 27 per cent expressed a desire to use a smartphone’s music capabilities in conjunction with the vehicle’s audio system; and among consumers currently using their vehicle’s Bluetooth functionality, initial interest for a wireless connectivity system in the vehicle is 68 per cent, compared with just 47 per cent who have the Bluetooth feature in the vehicle but do not use it.

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