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Vehicle Buyers Want Premium-Branded Multimedia Systems, But Problems Rise in 2012

Vehicle Buyers Want Premium-Branded Multimedia Systems, But Problems Rise in 2012

By Jeff Youngs, August 31, 2012
According to the results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Multimedia Quality and Satisfaction Study,SM owners who choose premium-branded multimedia systems for their current new vehicle also want one in their next new vehicle, despite an increase in reported problems with certain elements of the systems. A multimedia system is defined as one including audio, entertainment, and navigation features.

The study, which surveyed 74,000 vehicle owners who purchased or leased a 2012 model-year vehicle about the multimedia system in their vehicle, finds that buyers who select a premium-branded multimedia system are more satisfied with their vehicle than are owners whose new car or truck didn't have such a system.

According to the study, the five features that most positively impact satisfaction with multimedia systems are:

1.    Premium-branded audio system
2.    Steering wheel controls for the audio system
3.    Satellite radio
4.    Navigation system
5.    MP3-compatible CD player

The results of the study also show that 53% of new-vehicle owners have a premium-branded multimedia system in their vehicle, and 96% say they want one in their next new car or truck.

"The positive impact on satisfaction with more premium audio features and options demonstrates vehicle owners' desire for more advanced, functional and personalized media technologies," said Mike VanNieuwkuyk, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates.

However, it appears that while new-vehicle owners want and enjoy multimedia systems, the number of problems they experience with their multimedia system has increased year over year. This year, owners cite a greater number of problems than in 2011 with the navigation system map missing information, the navigation system providing wrong directions, the navigation system freezing up, and multimedia screens in poor locations.

Among multimedia systems evaluated in the AM/FM/single CD player/satellite radio/navigation category, those sourced from Bosch rank highest with a score of 7.9 PP100 (problems per 100), followed by Mitsubishi Electric Automotive America, Inc. at 8.8 PP100, and Denso Corporation at 9.4 PP100. A lower PP100 score indicates higher quality.

"Navigation systems are constantly being upgraded, and as new layers of interaction and information are added, the more complex these systems become," said VanNieuwkuyk. "Compared with other areas of the multimedia system, navigation systems are evolving the most and in the quickest amount of time, which leads to growing pains and increased problems."

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