Westlake Village, California – Growth in consumer demand for high-tech features has led to a significant increase in market penetration for satellite radio and navigation systems in new vehicles, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study found that 55 per cent of new-vehicle owners report having satellite radio capability in their audio systems, up from 39 per cent in 2007. Market penetration for navigation systems has also increased to 25 per cent in 2008 from 20 per cent in 2007.

“New-vehicle buyers are looking for the latest technologies in audio systems, and the presence of features such as satellite radio and navigation systems will only increase as manufacturers try to meet consumer demand,” said Allison LaDuc, senior research manager of automotive product quality at J.D. Power. “For instance, nearly 60 per cent of consumers say they want a navigation system on their next vehicle, and 66 per cent of consumers want the ability to play MP3 files. To meet or exceed consumer expectations, manufacturers will need to focus on incorporating high-tech features in multimedia systems while avoiding increases in problem levels.”

The study also evaluated owner experiences with the quality, design satisfaction and features of multimedia systems in new vehicles, with problems measured per 100 vehicles (PP100). A lower PP100 score indicates higher quality. Alpine ranked highest in the AM/FM/single CD segment with an overall score of 2.6 PP100, an improvement of 1.3 PP100 over 2007. Panasonic ranked second with 4.4 PP100, while Clarion and Continental tied for third at 4.5 PP100.

In the AM/FM/multi-CD segment, Panasonic ranked highest with 4.3 PP100, followed by Pioneer at 4.6 and Sanyo at 5.0.

In the AM/FM/single CD/satellite radio segment, Delphi Corporation ranked highest with 2.7 PP100, followed by Visteon at 3.6 and Panasonic at 4.1. In the AM/FM/multi-CD/satellite category, Clarion ranked highest at 5.4 PP100, followed by Delphi at 5.6 and Visteon at 6.0.

For the third consecutive year, the three most commonly-reported problems are front audio/entertainment system controls difficult to understand or use or in a poor location; navigation system map giving wrong directions or poorly located; and AM/FM radio with poor or no reception. These issues accounted for nearly 60 per cent of the total reported multimedia problems.

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