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J.D. Power Study Finds Vehicle Owners Less Satisfied With Factory Navigation Systems

January 24, 2013

J.D. Power released the results of its annual survey on factory-installed navigation system performance, finding that vehicle owners were frustrated with the complexity of menu systems, voice control commands, and inputting destinations. J.D. Power fielded the study between October and November 2012, and received responses from 20,704 owners who had recently purchased or leased a new 2012 model-year vehicle with a factory-installed navigation system.

The study identifies six factors that contribute to a vehicle owner’s satisfaction with a factory-installed navigation system. Those factors include ease of use; routing; system speed; use of using voice directions; ease of using voice activation; and the system’s display screen quality. The study also measures quality by evaluating the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

On average, satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems fell by 13 points in 2012 to 681, with declines in all six factors mentioned previously. The factor that saw the largest decline was ease of use, which dropped 25 points in 2012 from its 2011 score.

One finding in the report showed the impact smartphones are having on vehicle owners’ perception of navigation systems. In the most recent 2012 study, 47% of vehicle owners indicated they use a downloaded app on their smartphone for in-vehicle navigation, compared with 37% in 2011. Out of the survey respondents, 46% said they “definitely would not” or “probably would not” buy a factory-installed navigation system in their smartphone’s navigation application could be displayed on a central screen in the vehicle.

J.D. Power went on to say that, in the study, input and selection controls accounted for six out of the top 10 most frequent problems vehicle owners experienced. The other four problems included not being able to read text due to its size or location on-screen, not showing enough street names, the system being too slow to start up or connect, and the screen lighting not working properly.

Another finding in the study was that 67% of vehicle owners without a voice activation feature in their vehicle’s navigation system said they would want it in their next system, and 80% of those with it said they would want it again. Despite those findings, voice activation scored the lowest in the study, 93 points below the second lowest score, which was ease of use. Also, difficulty using voice activation controls was the third most-frequently reported problem in the study, at 27.8 PP100.

J.D. Power noted a few specific navigation systems that performed well, including the Garmin system in the Chrysler 300 Series and Dodge Charger and the Harman-supplied system in the Porsche Cayenne. The Garmin systems in the Chrysler 300 Series and the Dodge Charger performed well in all factors, particularly in ease of use, according to J.D. Power.

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