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J.D. Power: In-Vehicle Tech Shows Improved Adoption, Reliability

September 13, 2018

The Kia Rio was No. 1 among small mass-market vehicles in J.D. Power’s rankings of in-vehicle technology quality and reliability. Photo courtesy Kia Motors Corp.
The Kia Rio was No. 1 among small mass-market vehicles in J.D. Power’s rankings of in-vehicle technology quality and reliability. Photo courtesy Kia Motors Corp.

COSTA MESA, Calif. — In-car multimedia technology, perennially the leading source of complaints among new-vehicle owners, is still a sore spot for customer satisfaction, but is improving. According to the J.D. Power 2018 Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study, the number of reported problems with in-car audio, communication, entertainment and navigation (or “ACEN”) technologies has decreased for a third consecutive year, with several technology standouts emerging among manufacturers.

The study measures the experiences and opinions of vehicle owners regarding the quality, design and features of their ACEN system in the first 90 days of ownership. Multimedia system quality is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. Vehicles built by Ford and Lincoln earned the top spots in three of eight categories, including mass-market mid-size and large car, while BMW and Kia claimed two categories apiece and Porsche notched a win in the premium compact category.

“In-car multimedia has been a problematic category for automakers for several years, as ever-more elaborate navigation, voice recognition and entertainment systems have proliferated in vehicles of every type,” said Brent Gruber, senior director of automotive quality at J.D. Power. “While the area is still the leading cause of new-vehicle complaints — with voice recognition technology continuing to lead the way as the number one complaint for a sixth consecutive year — we are seeing some serious improvement across the board, with some manufacturers really raising the bar on delivering quality multimedia technology experiences for their customers.”

Data for the annual Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study is derived from each year’s J.D. Power Vehicle Quality Survey. The data is augmented with supplier sourcing information where available, which affords multimedia suppliers with a comprehensive view of the overall multimedia industry, as well as the performance of individual products and systems, and problems that owners experience.

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