J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Smartphone Ownership Drives Increased Vehicle Owner Interest in Communication- And Connectivity-Related Features

Jun 23, 2010, 13:00 ET from J.D. Power and Associates

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As a growing number of vehicle owners migrate from traditional cell phones to smartphones, their interest in key communication- and connectivity-related features for their vehicle has also increased, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study(SM) released today.

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The study is designed to measure consumer interest and purchase intent for emerging automotive technologies, both before and after an estimated market price is revealed.

The study finds that among the 51 percent of vehicle owners who indicate ownership of a smartphone, interest levels for wireless connectivity systems are higher than the industry average, both before and after price is revealed. Before price is revealed, 77 percent of smartphone owners indicate interest in wireless connectivity systems for their vehicles, compared with the industry average of 64 percent. More than one-half (56%) of vehicle owners with smartphones are interested in mobile routers, compared with an industry average of 46 percent. In addition, 47 percent are interested in having an in-dash computer vs. 38 percent industry average.

Approximately 30 percent of smartphone owners indicate texting and checking e-mails while in the vehicle. Among these same owners, nearly 40 percent indicate they would like to have the ability to have e-mails read aloud through their vehicle's sound system, while a similar proportion would like the ability to have text messages displayed on an in-vehicle screen.

"Although several states have imposed bans on drivers using handheld devices and one-half of states have or are in the process of implementing bans on texting while driving, this legislation has not necessarily put a stop to how vehicle owners are manipulating these devices," said Amy Jacobs, manager of automotive emerging technologies research at J.D. Power and Associates. "As a result, vehicle owners—particularly those with smartphones—are still using their devices inside the vehicle and may be looking toward manufacturers and suppliers alike to develop technologies that can enhance, simplify or potentially eliminate the need for unsafe phone usage in the vehicle."

The study also finds the following trends:

  • Nearly 40 percent of vehicle owners with smartphones currently use them in their vehicle to get driving directions. More than one-half of owners with smartphones say they would like to use them to get directions in the future.
  • Approximately 20 percent of vehicle owners with smartphones use their device to listen to music through connection to external or vehicle speakers. However, more than 40 percent would like to do so in the future.
  • The proportion of vehicle owners who listen to external music devices in their vehicle has increased from 2009. Among current portable digital music player owners who listen to their device through the vehicle's speakers, smartphones are the next-most-mentioned device for in-vehicle connection, after portable digital music players.
  • Non-branded premium sound systems garner the highest interest level of the 22 primary technologies examined, once market prices are revealed. However, among vehicle owners who are aware of at least one audio brand, approximately two in five indicate they are willing to pay twice as much for a system branded by a specific supplier.

The study also finds that among the 22 primary technologies examined, vehicle owners exhibit the highest levels of interest before price is revealed for safety-related technologies, with 77 percent indicating interest in blind spot detection and 75 percent indicating interest in an active cornering headlight system.

Once market prices are revealed, non-branded premium sound system garners the most interest (54%), followed by remote vehicle diagnostics (52%) and wireless connectivity system (51%).

Initial interest (before price)

Interest after market price is revealed

Blind spot detection


Non-branded premium sound system


Active cornering headlight system


Remote vehicle diagnostics


Non-branded premium sound system


Wireless connectivity system


Navigation system


Active cornering headlight system


Rear-vision camera system


Rear-vision camera system


The 2010 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from nearly 18,000 vehicle owners. The study was fielded in May 2010. The study was redesigned for 2010 to include additional primary and secondary technologies; a dedicated smartphone section; key emerging technologies packaging exercise; elasticity analysis; and expanded psychographic and lifestyle-driven content.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.  

J.D. Power and Associates Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews; Troy, Mich.; (248) 312-4119; media.relations@jdpa.com

Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates