J.D. Power Reports Complaints Climb Over Vehicle Communication Systems

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The number of problems with infotainment, navigation, and in-vehicle communication systems has increased and now accounts for 20 percent of all consumer-reported problems with vehicles, says a study released today by J.D. Power and Associates, a national marketing firm with an office in Troy.

“The increase in technology-related problems has two sources,” says Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power. “Usability problems that customers reported during their first 90 days of ownership are still bothering them three years later in ever-higher numbers. At the same time, the penetration of these features has increased year over year.”

Stephens says the problems most often reported by consumers are Bluetooth pairing and connectivity and built-in voice recognition systems misinterpreting commands. The study found Lexus ranked highest in vehicle dependability among all brands for the fifth consecutive year. Following Lexus is Porsche, Buick, Toyota, and GMC, respectively.

GM received eight awards for vehicles such as the Buick Encore and LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, and the GMC Yukon, among others. Toyota received six awards for vehicles such as the Lexus ES, GS, GX and the Toyota Prius, Sienna, and Tundra.

Others models to receive segment awards are the Fiat 500; Honda Fit; Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class; MINI Cooper; MINI Coupe/Roadster; and the Nissan Murano.

Stephens says the study finds more than 50 percent of vehicle owners cite reliability as one of the most influential reasons for choosing a specific make and model. At the same time, concerns about reliability have risen this year as a reason to avoid particular models.

Stephens says while automakers, suppliers, and the U.S. government are moving toward putting fully autonomous vehicles on the road, consumers need to have confidence in their vehicles’ technologies first.

"If you think about the technology problems from the study in the context of conversations around autonomous vehicles, the industry clearly has more work to do to secure the trust of consumers," Stephens says. "Right now, if consumers can't rely on their vehicle to connect to their smartphone, or have faith that their navigation system will route them to their destination, they're certainly not yet ready to trust that autonomous technology will keep their vehicle out of the ditch."

To view the full report, called the 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, click here

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