Advanced Tech Increasingly Cited in After-Sales Problems

Advanced automotive technologies in cars are becoming a leading source of after-sales problems.

That’s among the findings of the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study, released this week. Of the advanced technologies included in the study, 46% of them had at least one problem with a PP100 higher than the most problematic attribute included in the 2022 IQS, with some exceeding it several times over. A low PP100 score indicates better quality.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Fingerprint reader most problematic tech in TXI’s history: While fingerprint reader was included in the study for the first time, it managed lowest-performing technology score across the key metrics of problems experienced (54.3 PP100) and has the lowest overall satisfaction score (6.08 on a 10-point scale). It surpasses interior gesture controls, which previously held the record for being the lowest-performing technology in each of the past two years. The poor performance of the fingerprint reader technology, resulting in many owners not wanting it on their next vehicle, is a missed opportunity because many owners have used the fingerprint technology to access their smartphone.
  • Tech desires reflect considerable regional differences: TXI studies conducted in the United States, Japan and China include many of the same advanced and emerging technologies but future interest in those technologies vary by country. EV-based technologies are among the top five most desired technologies in America. Owners in China have more interest in infotainment and connectivity technologies, while emerging automation techs rank in the top five among owners in Japan.
  • Dealers can add value to in-vehicle technology: The result of a dealer demonstrating almost all advanced and emerged technologies results in owners being less likely to abandon a technology after trying it. When a dealer educates a new owner, it elevates the entire ownership experience. In fact, the average vehicle model Net Promoter Score (NPS) is higher for those owners who received dealer training for their advanced technologies than those who learned about them from outside sources (88 vs. 81, respectively, on a scale of -100 to 100). This highlights the important role dealerships play in creating awareness and acceptance of advanced technologies.

However, the study warns that the assumption that advanced technologies always lead to significant problems is a misconception. In a statement it read: “More concerning is that this could prompt automakers to slow their implementation of new technologies. This strategy could cause them to lose their competitive advantage, as not all encounter significant quality problems when integrating advanced technologies. In fact, the study findings indicate there can be a large variation in the number of problems encountered for a particular tech, meaning that some automaker executions are much better at meeting user expectations.”

Kathleen Rizk, senior director of user experience benchmarking and technology at J.D. Power, said: “Innovation is non-negotiable. The fact that the average PP100 for a technology is high should not discourage automakers from innovating, as there is often a wide range of total problems experienced for a technology across the brands. This means that some are innovating more flawlessly for a particular tech, while others struggle with their execution. Automakers should consider benchmarking brands that innovate well for a technology, which would allow them to identify and then integrate best practices. Effective innovators understand that new technologies can be introduced successfully with proper design and execution.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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