JD Power Study Finds In-Car Tech Lacks APEAL

Automakers have been loading up their cars with more and more technologies and functionality , but among owners of the cars, the appeal just isn't there, according to the J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study released last week.

The research, which asked owners to evaluate their vehicles across 77 attributes, shows that while satisfaction with fuel economy, styling, and the feel of the interior is higher, there is less differentiation in terms of the usefulness of the controls and functions for navigation, voice recognition, and other technology applications.

"Manufacturers often look to new features and technologies to keep their vehicles fresh and attractive, but designing systems that consumers find intuitive and easy to use has been a challenge," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. "Newly launched models surpass carryovers in impressing owners with the look and feel of the vehicle. But, as we also see in our 2014 Initial Quality Study, owners are not as comfortable with the functionality of the features. To differentiate new models from the pack, automakers must continue to design systems that are not just attractive, but also intuitive and easy to use.

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