Safety features are most desired until price is revealed

(June 2010) Two safety features — Blind spot detection and Active cornering headlight system — receive the highest levels of pre-price interest among the 22 primary technologies examined in the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.

Certain communication-, connectivity-, and entertainment-related technologies, however, become more popular once a fair market price is provided. A few highlights from this year’s study, which is based on an Internet survey of 17,849 vehicle owners who purchased or leased a new vehicle within the past 5 years, include:

 • Owners express the highest levels of interest in two safety features — Blind spot detection (77%) and Active cornering headlight system (75%) — before any price for the features is provided.

 • More female owners express interest in safety features that assist them in their driving experience, compared with their male counterparts. Automatic parallel parking system; Personal assistance safety services; and Blind spot detection are three of the four features in which interest levels are higher among females.

• Once realistic feature prices are revealed, however, an entertainment-related feature receives the highest level of interest among all owners, with more than one-half (54%) expressing interest in having a non-branded premium sound system in their next vehicle.

• Following interest in a sound system, one-half of owners also indicate interest in two communication- and connectivity-related features—Remote vehicle diagnostics (52%) and Wireless connectivity system (51%).

Implication: Many times, the appeal of a given feature may stem from a number of factors, including previous ownership; lifestyle behaviors; feature functionality and usability; and ultimately, price. The value behind this study is that we have given our subscribers the necessary tools to segment this data to find key or niche markets for various technologies.

— Amy Jacobs, research manager at
J.D. Power and Associates