Study finds drivers use portable navigation systems even if car is equipped with NAV

(November 23, 2010) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — A considerable proportion of owners of factory-installed navigation systems also use portable navigation devices and smartphone navigation, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.

The study finds that 36 percent of owners of factory-installed navigation systems also own a portable navigation device, and 28 percent of those owners prefer receiving directions from the portable navigation device. Similarly, 24 percent of owners of factory-installed navigation systems use a smartphone as a navigation system alternative, with 28 percent of those owners preferring to receive directions from the smartphone rather than their factory-installed system.

“Portable navigation devices and smartphone navigation both offer a less expensive and more convenient alternative to a factory-installed navigation system,” said Mike Marshall, director of automotive emerging technologies at J.D. Power and Associates.

“As these options become more prevalent, it’s important that suppliers take into account some of the features that make these systems preferable — such as ease of use and less expensive and more frequent updates for maps and points of interest — and incorporate them into factory-installed navigation systems to better satisfy customer needs. In addition to addressing these key issues, prices of factory-installed navigation systems need to stay competitive with these other navigation devices growing in popularity.”

Now in its 12th year, the study identifies seven factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction. In order of importance they are ease of use — routing; navigation display screen; system appearance; voice recognition; voice directions; and speed of system.

The study index was redesigned in 2010 to include voice recognition attributes. While voice recognition is not included on all systems, 65 percent of owners of factory-installed navigation systems indicate having this feature. The study also measures quality by examining problems per 100 (PP100) navigation systems, in which a lower score reflects higher quality.

The study finds that real-time traffic and voice recognition features continue to increase in prevalence among owners of factory-installed navigation systems. Thirty-four percent of customers indicate they have real-time traffic capabilities, up from 26 percent in 2009. Approximately two-thirds of owners of factory-installed navigation systems in 2010 indicate having voice recognition capabilities, compared with 59 percent in 2009.

Ford Fusion's Clarion
navigation system

The Clarion system supplied to the Ford Fusion ranks highest in customer satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems and performs particularly well in speed of system; voice directions; ease of use; and voice recognition. The Clarion navigation system supplied to the Ford Flex follows in the rankings, and the Clarion system supplied to the Ford Taurus ranks third.

The study also identifies the following navigation system trends:

    • Forty percent of owners say that locking out certain features of the navigation system while the vehicle is moving is appropriate for safety reasons.
    • While female owners perceive a higher value for their navigation system than do male owners, they are willing to pay nearly $100 less, on average, for a factory-installed navigation system.
    • Customers 18-25 years old provide the highest ratings for the value of their navigation system, compared with other age groups, and are also willing to pay the highest prices for their navigation system.