Hands-Free Device Owners More Satisfied Despite Problems

David Amodeo

New-vehicle owners and lessees who have hands-free communication devices in their vehicles are more delighted with their vehicle’s audio/entertainment/navigation (AEN) systems than those who do not have hands-free communication devices in their vehicles, according to findings in our 2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

This contrasts with results in our 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), in which the audio/entertainment/navigation (AEN) system category, which includes evaluation of hands-free communication devices, has the highest average problem count among all categories analyzed, and is linked to lower vehicle quality. In fact, the number of problems in this category has grown during the past few years, partly due to a higher number of problems reported for hands-free communication devices. Continue reading ›

Technology and Connectivity are Key Focuses in New Products

Emerging-technology features took center stage during product introductions at most of the press previews at the L.A. Auto Show this past week. Nearly every automaker touted news about featured information and entertainment systems that have been developed or advanced to cater to customers.

• Brands, including Ford and Honda, talked about simpler and enhanced telematics and connectivity. Continue reading ›

Vehicle Dependability, Reliability Continues to Advance

David Sargent

Overall dependability of three-year-old vehicles continues to improve this year in comparison to long-term quality levels of three-year-old vehicles in 2010, although the rate of improvement is slightly lower than it has been over the past decade. The slowdown in improvement is mainly due to increased problems with new technologies and features, according to our 2011 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which measures 202 problem symptoms in eight categories that owners experienced with their 3-year-old vehicles during the past 12 months. The study is based on responses from more than 43,700 original owners of 2008 model-year vehicles.

Still, automakers, as a whole, have made significant improvements in reducing traditional problems, particularly with vehicle interiors; engines and transmissions; and steering and braking, during the past several years. However, as manufacturers add new features and technologies to satisfy consumer demands and legislated changes for safety, they face the potential for introducing new problems. Continue reading ›