A J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study just released shows that usability issues associated with in-vehicle technology, have increasingly influenced vehicle owners’ perception of vehicle dependability. Unsurprisingly, the two most frequently reported problems are Bluetooth connectivity and built-in voice-recognition system issues.

Renee Stephens, Vice President of U.S. Automotive at J.D. Power says, “Technology issues with vehicles are viewed as significant problems by owners, and they typically don’t go away after the honeymoon period of vehicle ownership is over. Furthermore, indications from our upcoming 2015 Tech Choice Study show that consumer expectations on advanced technology capabilities are growing. Owners clearly want the latest technology in their vehicles, and they are particularly critical when it doesn’t work.”

According to the study, problems with the in-car multimedia and technology problems not only affect overall buyer satisfaction, but they also affect repurchase intent. 56% of vehicle owners who experience no problems with their vehicle plan to purchase the same brand the next time, compared with 43% of vehicle owners who experience three or more problems. Additionally, 15% of new-vehicle buyers say they have avoided a model because it lacked the latest technological features, a significant increase compared with last year when just 4% of survey respondents said the same.

In order to retain customers dissatisfied with their in-car technology, Stephens recommends that automakers and dealers should proactively reach out to customers to address technology problems. She says, “Oftentimes issues owners experience can be resolved with a software update, or in the case of Bluetooth pairing problems, dealers can step in to help. In cases such as these, proactively reaching out to owners presents the opportunity… to engage with customers in a positive way.”

Considering how much time we North Americans spend in our cars, this is not surprising. We certainly have the chance to test and utilize all the different manufacturers’ in-car systems and we do find a vast discrepancy with usability from vehicle to vehicle. We’d love to hear how much in-car technology has influenced your buying or not buying decisions for your personal cars.


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