European Consumers Express Interest in Vehicle Navigation Systems – Until Market Price is Revealed

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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Backup assist and other sensing technologies also garner high consumer interest in Europe

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. – 20 September 2006 – Before the market price is revealed, navigation systems are the most desired automotive technology among European consumers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 European Automotive Emerging Technologies StudySM released today.

The study, which examines consumer awareness and future demand for 14 automotive technologies across Germany and the United Kingdom, finds that 75 percent of European consumers express high interest in navigation systems. However, as one of the most expensive technologies included in the study, navigation systems are among the least favored technologies after the mid-point price is revealed, illustrating the effect price has on a consumer�s intent to actually purchase a technology.

Backup assist (or reverse assist) is the second-most-desired technology in the study before the mid-point price is revealed, and garners the highest percentage of consumers who are �definitely/probably� interested in the feature after the mid-point price is revealed. Consumers also express considerable interest in other vehicle-sensing features, such as active cornering headlight systems and blind spot detection.

�Although high interest in navigation systems is pretty solid among consumers in both the U.K. and Germany, familiarity and interest with other technologies can vary greatly among the two countries,� said Mike Marshall, director of automotive product and quality research at J.D. Power and Associates. �Rear-seat entertainment systems, for example, are the third-most-recognized technology in the U.K., whereas in Germany the technology ranks eighth on the awareness chart.�

The study also finds that consumers in Germany are more likely to be interested in the emerging technologies than their counterparts in the U.K, with the exception of HD radio, rear-seat entertainment systems and satellite radio, in which more U.K. consumers express interest. Additionally, in a mock shopping exercise where respondents are given a fixed sum of money to spend, more than one-half of German consumers select emerging technologies such as backup assist and active cornering headlight systems, while consumers in the U.K. prefer to add more established features to their future vehicle, such as a multiple CD changer. U.K. consumers are also considerably less likely to spend additional money on optional features for their vehicles compared to German consumers.

Technologies for which consumer awareness is low in both Germany and the U.K. include satellite radio, blind spot detection and personal assistance services, such as air bag deployment notification and remote door unlock.

�Satellite radio and personal assistance safety services have not yet penetrated the European market to the extent they have in the United States,� said Marshall. �As awareness of the features increases, consumer interest should increase as well, particularly with satellite radio, which ranks slightly higher in terms of interest among European consumers after the market price is revealed.�

The 2006 European Automotive Emerging Technologies Study is based on responses from more than 4,000 new-vehicle owners from across Germany and the U.K.

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, consulting, training and customer satisfaction. The firm�s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies. www.jdpower.com

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor�s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 290 offices in 38 countries. Sales in 2005 were $6.0 billion. Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.