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Vehicle technology not consistently working but high in demand

February 26, 2015

Modern vehicles are increasingly equipped with a vast amount of digital technologies. From Bluetooth connection capabilities to voice-activated controls, it seems you can do just about anything in a car these days. However, recent reports are finding that while these amenities are in demand, they are letting many consumers down because they aren't functioning properly.

Consumers are interested in vehicle technology.

One study in particular, conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, found that 55 percent of drivers who participated in the study claimed their Bluetooth systems didn't recognize their phones after only three years of having a vehicle.

The study took into account the responses of 34,000 drivers, all of which had 2012 model vehicles. Manufacturers equipped one-third of vehicles released in 2012 with Bluetooth or voice-recognition technologies.

But this technology shortfall doesn't mean consumers don't want cars with modern amenities. In fact, demand is continuously increasing for these options in current vehicles.

“Car buyers want to stay connected when they are driving,” Renee Stephens, vice president for J.D. Power U.S. Automotive, told CNBC. “They have reliable service and features with their smartphones, and they want the same thing from their vehicles.”

Modern technology part of everyday life

Wireless technologies and Internet-based communications have established a major place in much of the modern world. People rely on their devices for everything from listening to music to getting directions to reading the news. It is not surprising that these conveniences should be included in vehicles.

But as technologies evolve so quickly these days, will vehicles become outdated a faster pace as well? For instance, not so long ago GPS devices like Garmin were a big deal, The New York Times reported. They made driving easier, as they eliminated the need for a map and prevented a great deal of confusion. Consumers could purchase standalone Garmin? products for any vehicle. But now that automakers are building devices into car dashboards, vehicles have the potential to become outdated as fast as the technology it incorporates.

Technology dates quickly

People replace their smartphones often, and there are some industry professionals that believe vehicle turnover may begin to happen at a similar pace. As contemporary vehicles incorporate the latest technology, consumers are likely to trade in old for new.

But these technologies aren't merely music players and maps. Modern features make vehicles safer and more efficient due to features such as sensors for blind spots so a driver can be aware of other vehicles on the road, rear cameras for backing up and increasing options for hybrid models.

Kevin Tynan, Bloomberg Intelligence senior auto analyst, noted he is seeing this trend come to life, as people are going for technology features in addition to vehicle appearance and feel. He said this is creating a gap in vehicle demand.

“We basically skipped a generation of technology, and that's what we're seeing come out now,” Tynan said, according to Detroit News. “Your 5-year-old car feels like it's 10 or 12 years old.”

What this means for insurance

Manufacturers still have some work to do to make the technology function properly to please consumers, but the demand for these vehicles isn't going anywhere. Additionally, this growing trend is having an impact on the auto insurance industry, according to Rappler. As many of these new vehicle features are focused on increasing safety, insurance companies see that as positive.

However, the insurance industry will also have to keep on pace in the same way that vehicle manufacturers will. As automakers implement new technologies into modern vehicles, insurance companies are likely to come across features they haven't had to acknowledge before. If you are purchasing a new vehicle with state-of-the-art technology, make sure you request several auto insurance quotes before making a decision.