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Consumers on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto: meh

August 25, 2015, 6:11 PM UTC
A visitor presses the new Apple's CarPlay touch-screen commands inside the Volvo Estate concept car displayed at the Swedish carmaker during the press day of the Geneva Motor Show in Geneva, on March 4, 2014.

In-vehicle technology is big business—about $14.5 billion in projected revenues for this year alone, according to the Consumer Electronics Association.

Unfortunately, all that spending on the latest and greatest automotive electronics might not be well-received (or used) by actual consumers, according to a report released Tuesday by J.D. Power.

The J.D. Power 2015 Driver Interactive Vehicle Experience Report found that at least 20% of new-vehicle owners have never used 16 of the 33 technology features measured. The five features most commonly reported as “never use” are in-vehicle concierge (43%); mobile routers (38%); automatic parking systems (35%); head-up display (33%); and built-in apps (32%).

The report measured driver experiences with in-vehicle technology features during the first 90 days of ownership. The report is based on responses filed in April through June 2015 from more than 4,200 vehicle owners and lessees.

Consumers were so antipathetic toward certain tech—stay away massaging seats!—they said they didn’t want to see it in their next vehicle. Surprisingly, Apple’s (AAPL) CarPlay and Google’s (GOOG) Android Auto—in-vehicle features that devices running Apple iOS or Android to be displayed and controlled via the vehicle’s multimedia system—landed on the “do-not-want” list.

Top Tech Consumers Don’t Want on Their Vehicle

  1. Rear-seat entertainment — 58%
  2. Massaging seats — 47%
  3. In-vehicle concierge — 44%
  4. Automatic parking system — 39%
  5. Android Auto — 38%
  6. Apple CarPlay — 37%


Consumers do like tech, but in many cases they prefer to use their smartphone or tablet. “They’re familiar with the device and it’s accurate,” says Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction and HMI research at J.D. Power.

The upshot? The tech that’s not used results in millions of dollars of lost value for both consumers and the manufacturers, says Kolodge.

Consumers don’t shun all technology in cars. They appear to be particularly fond of tech that provides added safety or helps them more easily use their smartphone.

Top Tech Consumers Want on Their Next Vehicle

  1. Blind spot warning and detection — 87%
  2. Fuel economy indicator — 87%
  3. Seat lumbar adjustment — 86%
  4. Phone pairing system — 84%
  5. Park assist — 82%


The results illustrate the modern-day challenges of automakers, which face increasing pressure to provide the tech that a fickle public actually wants.

Automakers are under pressure to put an increasing amount of capital toward autonomous driving systems, connected features, electrification, car-sharing options, and even parking automation, according to a report released in June by AlixPartners. More than 20% of vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 will include embedded connectivity solutions, and more than half will be connected either by embedded, tethered, or smartphone integration, according to data from Connected Car Forum.

That might be good news for companies like German industrial conglomerate Robert Bosch GmbH, which has seen sales in driver assistance systems increase by a third every year. Sales in this field are expected to exceed 1 billion euros (about $1.09 billion) in 2016.

But it adds a layer of opaqueness for automakers, which have to be savvier about which tech will help spur sales.